World Bulletin / News Desk
Mohamed Magarief, a staunch opponent of Moamer Kadhafi's overthrown regime who is seen as being pro-Islamist, was elected president of Libya's new national assembly.
Magarief will head the 200-member congress, which will name a prime minister, pass laws and steer Libya to full parliamentary elections after a new constitution is drafted next year.
Magarief, leader of the National Front party, is effectively acting head of state, but the true extent of his powers is yet to be determined. He beat a liberal candidate in the vote.
An economist and former Libyan ambassador to India who had lived in exile since the 1980s, Magarief was a leading figure in Libya's oldest opposition movement - the National Front for the Salvation of Libya - which made several attempts to end Muammar Gaddafi's rule.
The 72-year-old's National Front Party is an offshoot of the old opposition movement and won three seats in the July 7 poll - Libya's first free vote in a generation.
"I am very, very happy. This is a big responsibility," he told Reuters after the late night vote on Thursday.
Magarief won 113 votes versus independent Ali Zidan, who secured 85 votes. Voting went to a second round after no one managed to win an outright majority in the first.
"This is democracy. This is what we have dreamt of," Zidan told Reuters, congratulating Magarief.
The assembly also voted for Giuma Attaiga, a lawyer from the port city of Misrata, as a deputy to Magarief, who had been seen as a leading contender for the top job. Voting for a second deputy will take place on Friday.
"He is a political personality and everybody knows him," Othman Sassi, a former official of the National Transitional Council, said of Magarief. "He has very good experience to lead congress and the Libyan democratic state."
Magarief is from Libya's second biggest city, Benghazi, the cradle of last year's revolt. Those roots are likely to placate fears in the east that the region would be marginalised by a centralised authority in the capital Tripoli.
The national assembly began life on Wednesday after it took power from the National Transitional Council, the political arm of the opposition forces that toppled Gaddafi a year ago and which has now been dissolved.
The ceremony was the first peaceful transition of power in Libya's modern history, but it has been overshadowed by several violent incidents in the past week that have underscored the country's precarious stability.
These include a car bomb near the offices of the military police in the capital, Tripoli, and an explosion at the empty former military intelligence offices in Benghazi.
In the new assembly, 80 seats are held by parties. A liberal coalition led by wartime rebel prime minister Mahmoud Jibril won 39 of those seats, while the Justice and Construction Party - the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood - won 17.
The remaining 120 seats are in the hands of independent candidates whose allegiances are hard to pin down. Key decisions will require a two-thirds majority to pass, making cooperation necessary in what is still a delicate transition for Libya.
Kindergarten has turned into orphanage after becoming home to tens of children who lost one or both parents in Syria's civil war
Some 10,000 Somali refugees living in eastern Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp are expected to be repatriated within six months
Human rights groups send open letter to president over prosecution of father accusing soldiers of shooting 14-year-old
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said reports that Saudi Arabia had called certain Hamas officials to voice its displeasure with the visit were unfounded
Parliament urged the government to expedite the process of tabling electoral reforms as lack of quorum derails debates.
28,000 soldiers will be used to secure polling stations while another 8,000 will be deployed for emergency reaction.
Twin bombs in Yemen's western city of Al-Hudaydah resulted in the death of an unconfirmed amount of people and scores were of people were injured.
Conviction against Huugjilt, 18, overturned almost 2 decades after execution for crime which serial rapist confessed to in 2005.
The Egyptian army said Thursday that it had killed nine "terrorists" and arrested 12 others within the past two days in the northeastern Sinai Peninsula.
Some Jewish organizations had called on settlers to storm the Al-Aqsa compound, especially on Sunday and Monday, according to the Palestinian NGO.
The United Nations launched its biggest ever humanitarian appeal for Syria on Thursday, seeking $8.4 billion after only securing about half the funding it asked for in 2014.
The union said that cabinet ministers in the Palestinian unity government had promised the cleaners that it would work on resolving their grievances within the next two weeks
Bosnia lifts visa requirements for citizens of 10 countries, bringing total number to 72.
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urged Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to radically change his attitude to the rest of the world and be more cooperative.
European Union has 'shot itself in the foot' by isolating Palestinian group, says analyst.
Cheyney's fiscal problems - students who are unable to repay debt and increasing pension costs - were exacerbated by cutbacks in state higher education funding.