A United Nations-led Libya forum has voted on an interim government, choosing Mohammed al-Menfi as presidency council head and Abdulhamid Dbeibeh as prime minister.
The election of a unified administration aims at ending a division in Libya that has lasted for more than five years, with two rival governments, and their affiliated armed groups, running different parts of the North African country.
Seventy-four members of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF), which includes Libyans from different political backgrounds, elected a list that includes the prime minister and the head of the Presidential Council.
“On behalf of the United Nations I am pleased to witness this historic moment,” said UN acting Libya envoy Stephanie Williams, who was interrupted by applause.
The winning list got 39 votes, which is more than the required 50 percent plus one of the 73 valid votes. One voter abstained.
None of the four slates – each including a candidate for prime minister and three for a presidency council – secured the 60 percent threshold of votes needed to win outright in the first ballot.
The two slates with the most votes went to a runoff vote.
The list that got the highest number of votes in the first round earlier on Friday included Aguila Saleh, the politically savvy speaker of Libya’s eastern parliament, who ran for president of the Presidential Council.
The same list includes Fathi Bashagha, the powerful interior minister in the western government, who was hoping to seize the premiership.
Since Monday, members of the LPDF have gathered near Geneva to listen to presentations from the 45 candidates.
Almost all candidates committed to holding the elections on time and vowed to work on national reconciliation and help displaced Libyans
get back to their homes.
Addressing the LPDF earlier this week, Dbeibeh said he wanted to focus on uniting and restructuring the country’s military and set up
a ministry for national reconciliation and reparation.
“Libyan people want to live,” he said.
The selection of an interim government is part of a UN peacemaking process based around holding national presidential and parliamentary elections in December.