UPDATE: Libyan Prime Minister With Huntsville Ties Ousted By Parliament
TRIPOLI, Libya (WHNT)-A former UAHuntsville professor turned world leader has been removed from power in Libya, just weeks after he was elected prime minister of the troubled nation.
Dr. Mustafa Abushagur was ousted from his prime minister post Sunday night after the Libyan parliament gave him an overwhelming vote of no-confidence.
Officials said Abushagur’s sudden downfall stems from his choices on cabinet positions in Libya’s new government, selections most of the parliament members called unacceptable. The former professor taught engineering at UAHuntsville from 1985 to 2002.
“It’s a very, very difficult time for him,” said Abushagur’s longtime friend Mohamed Elhady, a Libyan native and Madison resident. Elhady told WHNT News 19 that he spoke with Abushagur over the phone minutes after his dismissal was made official.
“He said ‘I did my best to serve my country, and I have certain principles that I will never compromise,” said Elhady. “One of the other issues, some said, was that he has dual citizenship. They consider that as a negative.”
Abushagur was forced to withdraw his initial cabinet lineup on Thursday over protests that some political parties were not being given enough representation in Libya’s new government. But parliament members soundly rejected the former professor’s revised edition on Sunday, leading to his removal from office.
Much of Libya remains in post civil war chaos, as evidenced by last month’s terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate that killed ambassador Chris Stevens and three other people. How Sunday’s vote will impact the ongoing investigation remains to be seen, but Elhady insists that whoever takes over will be friendly toward the United States.
“The Libyans are always people who are moderate Muslims,” said Elhady. “I guarantee you, Al-Qaeda cannot survive in Libya, because I know our people hate extremism.”
Abushagur’s daughter, Soumiea Abushagur, graduated from both Grissom High School and UAHuntsville.
Abushagur was Libya’s first elected prime minister following last year’s overthrow of Col Muammar Gaddafi. The Libyan Parliament now has three weeks to select a new leader.