Libya's new national assembly has elected former opposition leader Mohammed el-Megarif as its president.
Mr. Megarif received 113 votes from the 200-member Congress, defeating independent Ali Zidan, who won 85.
The vote late Thursday came just one day after Libya's transitional council handed power to the assembly, which was elected last month in the nation's first free election in 60 years.
Mr. Megarif was the leader of Libya's oldest opposition movement, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, which tried several times to end the 42-year rule of late leader Moammar Gadhafi.
After living in exile since the 1980s, Mr. Megarif returned to Libya following the revolution last year that ousted Gadhafi.
Mr. Megarif, now head of the National Front party, will lead the new Congress as it chooses a prime minister and steers the nation to full parliamentary elections after a new constitution is drafted.
“Of course, the election of the President of the National Conference is the first step in the framework of the National Conference. The selection of Mohammed el-Megarif is a victory for Libya. This man who has a long history of fighting the Gadhafi regime is now the president of the National Congress and the sole legitimate representative of Libya. The next phase is a sensitive stage and filled with bumps and conflicts and is full of challenges but Mohammed el-Megarif has the ability and competence to lead this stage.”