- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The president of Libya’s General National Congress resigned Tuesday, becoming the most-senior casualty of a new law that bans officials who had served under late dictator Moammar Gadhafi from holding public office.

Mohamed al-Megariaf, who served as Libya’s ambassador to India at the time of his defection in the 1980s, announced his resignation in an emotional speech to the General National Congress in Tripoli.

As president of the General National Congress, Mr. al-Megariaf served as Libya’s de facto head of state.

The so-called Political Isolation law goes into effect on June 6. It law bars from public office anyone who held an official position from Sept. 1, 1969, when Gadhafi seized power, until the end of the revolution on Oct. 23, 2011. Gadhafi was killed by rebels on Oct. 20, 2011.

Lawmakers passed the legislation on May 5 under pressure from militias, who had laid siege to government ministries in Tripoli.

The law will put out of work dozens of lawmakers, a half-dozen Cabinet members, and hundreds of thousands of government employees.

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan plans to reshuffle his Cabinet to cope with the imminent departure of ministers.

The General National Congress on Sunday approved Mr. Zeidan’s pick of Mohamed Khalifa Sheikh to serve as Libya’s new interior minister.

Mr. Sheikh’s predecessor, Ashour Shuail served as police chief in the eastern city of Benghazi under Gadhafi. Mr. Shuail resigned this month after lawmakers passed the isolation law.

• Ashish Kumar Sen can be reached at asen@washingtontimes.com.

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