Libya profile

Chairman of the General National Congress: Nuri Abu Sahmein

Nuri Abu Sahmein Nuri Abu Sahmein is the first Berber to hold the post

Libya's interim parliament elected Nuri Abu Sahmein as its chairman, and therefore de facto head of state, in June 2013, following the resignation of Mohamed al-Magarief.

Mr Al-Magarief had been elected to head the General National Congress a year earlier, but he stepped down when parliament approved a law debarring officials of the Gaddafi period from office. He had served as ambassador to India in the 1980s.

Mr Abu Sahmein is an independent MP from western Libya and, significantly, a member of the Berber ethnic minority that suffered discrimination under Col Gaddafi's rule.

The 200-seat Congress, elected in July 2012 in the country's first free polls in decades, saw liberal, secular and independent candidates outflank the Muslim-Brotherhood-aligned Justice and Construction Party.

Parliament chose Mr Abu Sahmein to serve as Libya's interim head of state pending fresh elections. These were originally due to be held towards the end of 2013, but have now been scheduled for 25 June 2014.

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