Members of Libya’s 200-strong national assembly on Wednesday elected technocrat Mustafa Abu Shagour as the country’s new prime minister in a close vote.
Shagour, previously deputy prime minister, won 96 votes, beating the liberal candidate Mahmud Jibril by just two votes to take control of Libya’s transitional administration for the next 18 months.
Abu Shagour, a respected optical engineer, carved out a career as an academic in the United States before returning to Libya last year where he was an adviser to the now dissolved National Transitional Council.
He was appointed a deputy to Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib in November.
In an interview with Reuters last month, Abu Shagour said that getting a grip on security, in an often anarchic Libya after the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi, would be the priority for Libya's new rulers.
His election comes after the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three embassy staff were killed in an attack on the Benghazi consulate and a safe house refuge, stormed by Islamist gunmen blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.
The United States, meanwhile, has evacuated all of its personnel from Benghazi to the Libyan capital and has reduced the staff at its embassy in Tripoli to unspecified “emergency” levels, a senior U.S. official told reporters in a conference call.