Khalid al-Mashri, from Zawya, was elected today president of the High Council of State, replacing Misrata’s Abd al-Rahman Swaihly.
Mr Mashri, a member of the executive office of Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm Justice and Construction Party, has won a second-round vote by 64 to 45.
Mr Swaihly won the first round by 37 votes, followed by Mr Mashri with 36, Abdullah Ajwan (independent) 26 and Mohammad Amazzeb (National Front Party) 17. It was understood that members of the National Front Party, which is widely perceived as a Brotherhood affiliate, have backed Mr Mashri in the second vote. Sources have claimed that a deal was struck between the Brotherhood and supporters of Mr Ajwan in exchange for the vice presidency position.
Mr Mashri is known for his strong views against eastern Libya’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) and its general commander, Khalifa Hifter. He has in the past expressed support for Jihadist groups fighting against the LNA in Benghazi and Darnah.
The High Council of State is an advisory body with no legislative powers. Established in late 2015 by the former head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, Bernardino Leon, it was designed to serve as a reward for members of the General National Congress for their defection and support for the GNA.
There was no immediate comment from Mr Swaihly, but his son and close aide Ahmed (a dual Libyan-British national), has said this on Twitter: