On 12 September, Libya’s General National Congress (GNC) elected Mustafa Abu Shagour as the country’s next Prime Minister. Shagour, who has been deputy Prime Minister since November 2011, beat Mahmoud Jibril on a thin margin, who acted as prime minister during last year’s uprising and whose National Forces Alliance performed strongly in the July elections for the GNC. One month earlier, Mohammed Magarief became the interim head of state upon his election as the speaker of the GNC. Meanwhile, Libya continues to face security incidents, including the killing of the US Ambassador and three of his colleagues in the eastern city of Benghazi on 11 September. As a  response to  the continuing  security  incidents, citizens in Benghazi ousted an Islamist militia group from its base in the city, while Magarief has announced to dissolve the militias that are not under state control.

Impact on country risk

The election of a PM by the recently elected GNC represents a new step in the country’s transition, but the formation of a new cabinet has been complicated thus far, as is shown by the postponement of the government formation, which was originally due by 28 September. Eventually, the new government is expected to benefit not only from Libya’s significant income from energy, but also from democratic legitimacy, which the former government lacked. The continuing incidents indicate that security will need to be a top priority for the coming government, along with setting up a constitutional committee. However, the restoration of the security situation in the country through the disarming and disbanding of militias and the creation of a new national army, remains an extremely difficult task. Meanwhile, the government will continue to face the difficult challenge to further hold together and reconstruct the country, while trying to meet the Libyan people’s high expectations after the fall of Qadhafi.

Analyst: The Risk Management Team, r.cecchi@credendogroup.com