After five years in office, Al-Mishri loses Libya’s HCS presidency to Takala

In a whiff of much-need change in Libya, the High Council of State’s (HCS) members elected on Sunday a new Head: Mohammed Takala, to replace the five-year-in-office Khalid Al-Mishri. The election also replaced the two deputies with Masoud Al-Taher as First Deputy Head, and Omar Al-Abdedi as the Second Deputy.

The election saw two rounds as none of the four candidates got the required vote count. In the second round between Takala and Al-Mishri, the former got 67 votes and the incumbent Head lost the election by receiving 64 votes.

As every year, the HCS carried its internal presidency elections with much anticipation as to whether Al-Mishri could have secured a sixth consecutive year in office, but keeping in mind the latter’s latest alliances – especially that with the Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR), and the controversies regarding the HoR-HCS 6+6 Joint Committee for drafting an election law – a new personality came into play; one that was widely said to be backed by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.

Takala, a PhD holder of computer network from a Budapest university, hails from the coastal city of Al-Khums. He is well known in recent politics for being a supporter of the Fathi Bashagha – now Osama Hammad’s – government that is designated by the HoR to replace Dbeibah’s UN-backed Government of National Unity.

However, according to a number of Libyan political observers, Takala is now backed by Dbeibah who is willing to widen the horizon of his political act and strike a deal for a unified government that leads to elections. Takala is OK with that, observers add.

In a first reaction to the election of Takala, the Libyan PM asked the new Head of HCS to adopt an approach that leads to elections and ends transitional periods. Internationally, the US special envoy to Libya, Richard Norland, hailed the election process of the HCS, describing it as democratic and transparent.


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