Libya’s national assembly has elected Nouri Abusahmen as its new president, the first member of the Berber minority to hold high office.
Abusahmen, an independent member of the General National Congress (GNC), won 96 votes out of the 184 cast in the assembly’s second round of polling, during the GNC session on Tuesday.
He defeated another independent, Al-Sherif al-Wafi, who had received 80 of the ballots.
Abusahmen, from the western coastal town of Zuwara, received the most support from the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Justice and Construction Party.
The newly elected national assembly president replaces Muhammad al-Magarief, who was forced to resign in May under a new law that prevents those who served during the rule of Slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi from holding political posts.
Magarief was Libya’s ambassador to India for two years in the 1980s before leaving Gaddafi’s government.
Abusahmen is expected to play a key role in the formation of a new constitution.
During Gaddafi’s dictatorship, the rights of Berbers, who make up 10 percent of the country’s population, were denied.
Libyans rose up against Gaddafi’s four-decade rule in February 2011 and deposed him in August 2011. He was slain on October 20 of the same year.