Tripoli, 10 October:
It was being reported by a number of congressmen this evening, Wednesday, that Ali Zidan, the independent member for Jufra, is planning to resign from Congress in order to run for prime minister.
“It’s true”, said one prominent congressman who did not want to be named. “He may have resigned already.”
Members of Congress cannot be elected to the premiership. They have to resign before putting their name forward for consideration.
Zidan was not available for comment.
He is said be supported by Mahmoud Jibril’s National Forces Alliance (NFA) and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party, although the latter’s support is reported as “lukewarm”.
Zidan’s name was being mentioned as a possible prime minister until, at the beginning of September, Congress passed a rule forbidding its members from standing for the post.
Earlier, he was viewed as the front runner for the post of president of Congress, again with the NFA’s support, but he lost out to Mohamed Magarief.
Before the July elections he was at one point associated with the failed Nation Party.
If he enters the contest for the prime minister’s job, it is expected that he will have a strong challenger in the person of Ibrahim Dabbashi. Libya’s deputy ambassador to the UN, he was one of the first diplomats to break with the Qaddafi regime last year and is highly respected. Dabbashi’s name has been suggested as the next prime minister from the moment it became clear that former prime minister-elect Mustafa Abushagur was going to be sacked by Congress.