Libyan assembly selects new prime minister, a week after ousting earlier pick

Ali Zeidan addresses a conference in Doha, Qatar, on May 11, 2011.

Story highlights

  • Libya's assembly tapped Mustafa Abushagur as prime minister on September 12
  • They rejected his crisis government plan last Sunday, resulting in his dismissal
  • Ali Zeidan is named the next prime minister; he has two weeks to form a government
  • He is a human rights advocate and diplomat

A week after dismissing the nation's prime minister, Libya's General National Congress late Sunday selected a new man -- Ali Zeidan -- to assume the post.

Mohamed al-Magariaf, the head of the North African nation's national assembly, announced Zeidan's ascension to prime minister in a statement Sunday. He got 93 votes from Libyan lawmakers, eight more than his closest contender, Mohammed al-Harary.

Zeidan, a former diplomat, has been given an October 28 deadline to form an interim government.

Last Sunday, the same congress rejected Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abushagur's crisis government proposal, resulting in his automatic dismissal less than a month after he was appointed.

The vote was overwhelmingly against Abushagur's plan, with 125 voting "no confidence," 44 "confidence" and 17 abstaining.

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Libyans went to the polls three months ago to elect GNC members -- the nation's first elected body in almost half a century -- with expectations of change and progress that elected officials could bring about.

Now public frustration is mounting with the lack of security, the slow process of creating a strong army and police force and rebuilding the country after the ouster of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Read more: Libyan militias melt into desert, wait for another day

Born in Waddan, a Saharan desert town in central Libya, the embattled country's new prime minister was educated in India and served as a Libyan diplomat from 1975 to 1982, according to the official Libyan News Agency.

Zeidan left Gadhafi's government that year and joined the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, a prominent left-leaning opposition group. And in 1989, he became the official spokesman of the Libyan League for Human Rights.

With Gadhafi's ouster, Zeidan returned to assume roles in his native country, including as the National Transitional Council's envoy to France.

Read more: U.S. sends new acting ambassador to Libya

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