Abdul Dbeibah elected Libyan transitional prime minister

FILE PHOTO: Libyan Parliament deputies in the Libyan capital Tripoli on May 2, 2019. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

Abdul Hamid Dbeibah was on Friday elected as Libya’s transitional unity prime minister by Libyan delegates at UN-facilitated talks outside the Swiss city of Geneva in an election broadcast live by the United Nations.

FILE PHOTO: Libyan Parliament deputies attend a meeting in the Libyan capital Tripoli. (Photo credit should read MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP via Getty Images)

Dbeibah defeated Fathi Bashagha, the Government of National Accord’s powerful interior minister, by 39 votes to 34.

Dbeibah, the founder of the Libya al-Mostakbal movement, previously led the Libyan Investment and Development Company under ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Younes Menfi was elected the new president of a three-member presidency council.

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum chose between proposed line-ups for the four leadership positions, the prime minister and three presidency council posts, which will represent the three main regions.

According to the UN, the transitional council will be tasked with “reuniting state institutions and ensuring security” until the elections.

UN envoy Stephanie Williams welcomed the development noting its historic meaning to the oil-rich but war-torn nation.

“The importance of the decision that you have taken here today will grow with the passage of time in the collective memory of the Libyan people,” Williams said.

Dbeibah, however, will have to overcome several obstacles to assert his legitimacy, including winning over various local political players, some of whom have already distanced themselves from the Geneva talks.

Libya, which has been mired in conflict since 2011, is split between a Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and the eastern-based House of Representatives backed by military leader Khalifa Haftar.

Despite years of fighting, the country is currently under a fragile ceasefire, agreed in October last year, which has been shaken by threats by Haftar to resume fighting.