By Nihal Zaroug.
Tripoli, 16 October:
Britain and France have congratulated Ali Zidan on his election as prime minster on 14 October by . . .[restrict]the National Congress. Zidan secured the post with 93 votes, eight votes more than his opponent Mohammed Al-Harari, the current minister for local government and member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Both countries championed last year’s pro-democracy uprising against the Qaddafi regime and were heavily involved in the intervention that subsequently followed.
“I congratulate Dr Zidan on his election as Prime Minister”, UK Foreign Office Minister for North Africa Alistair Burt said yesterday.
“This will allow Libya to form a new government to build on the work started by the Transitional Government and address the challenges still facing the Libyan people, in particular as it seeks to establish stability and security. The UK and the wider international community remain committed to supporting the Libyan people and the new government, and look forward to developing further a fruitful and productive relationship in the coming months.”
France has also offered its congratulations to Zidan yesterday and pledged to support Libya in the coming months.
“France congratulates Ali Zidan who was elected prime minister on October 14 by Libya’s General National Congress in a democratic and transparent election”, the French government said in a statement.
“Mr Zidan played an important role in the revolution as it unfolded. We would like him to continue to firmly and effectively pursue the transition process under way, in accordance with the aspirations expressed by the Libyan people in the July 7 election.
In July, the National Congress elections saw the centrist National Forces Alliance sweep more than double the votes of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction party, a strong indication of the will of the Libyan people.
“France, which has, right from the start, supported the aspirations of the Libyan people for freedom, will continue to stand alongside the new authorities in order to support them in their efforts to establish the rule of law”, the statement continued. “It will notably support the Libyan authorities’ efforts to restore security in the country, a prerequisite for consolidating the achievements of the revolution.”
In a show of good faith, former Prime Minister-elect Mustafa Abushagur also congratulated Zidan over twitter on becoming Libya’s new prime minister.
National Congress President Magarief has also congratulated Zidan and wished him luck in forming a new government. [/restrict]