Mohammed Magariaf

Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf is a Libyan politician who has been President of the General National Congress of Libya since August 2012.

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Country of ResidenceLibya
Date of Birth1940
TitleHead of State

Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf (Arabic: محمد يوسف المقريف‎; born 1940) is a Libyan politician who has been President of the General National Congress of Libya since August 2012. In this role, he is Libya's de facto head of state.[1] He is the leader of the National Front Party, which won three seats in the 2012 election, and he was previously well known for having founded and been the first leader of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya against regime of Muammar Gaddafi.[2]

Early career

A resident of Benghazi, he studied Economics at the University of Benghazi.

He served for a time as head of the board of auditors at the Libyan Arab Republic's Revenue Court and was subsequently Libya's Ambassador to India until 1980, when he announced his defection in Morocco.[3] He survived at least three assassination attempts.[4]

With the NFSL

On 8 May 1984, el-Magariaf directed commandos from the National Front for the Salvation of Libya led by Ahmed Ibrahim Ihwas in an attempt to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi, via an attack on Gaddafi's headquarters. The attack failed.[3] Al-Magariaf, the so-called "National Front Front for the Salvation of Libya" broadcasted opposition propaganda into Libya. Magariaf dedicated himself to overthrowing the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya with violence.[5] The NFSL aimed to create disorder inside Libya by sabotage, provocation, and other methods. [6]

In response, Gaddafi later targeted Al-Magariaf. Subsequent to the founding of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, el-Magariaf is one of few people who knew he was targeted by Gaddafi's bombing of UTA Flight 772 in 1989.

The NFSL was founded in 1981, as the first opposition group pushing for democratic reforms in Libya.[3] The NFSL called for a democratic government with constitutional guarantees, free and fair elections, free press, separation of powers, non-discriminatory rule of law, gender equality, multi-partyism,[7] sustainable development, and a realistic democratic road-map that benefits from Libyan, Arab and Islamic traditions as well as democratic learning from Nelson Mandela's democratisation experience, amongst others.[8] At the onset of the Libyan civil war, Magariaf remained active in engaging with his political contacts, in an effort to gain international support for himself and the Libyan people.

After the Libyan civil war

After the 2011 civil war, Magariaf returned to Libya from the United States, where he had spent most of his 30 years in exile.[9] He is now the leader of National Front Party, the formal successor of the NFSL[3] which was dissolved on 9 May 2012, after the National Transitional Council seized power.[4]

Magariaf is Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.[10]

Political ideology

Magariaf is reported to have good relations with the Muslim Brotherhood, yet is perceived as a moderate pragmatist who led one of the most liberal parties in the 2012 election.[11][4] His agenda is to focus on the Libyan economy.[3][4]

President of General National Congress

Magariaf was elected President of the General National Congress on 9 August 2012. He received 113 votes in the Congress as opposed to 85 votes for his independent rival, Ali Zidan.[4]


  1. "Gaddafi opponent elected Libya assembly chief". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  2. Profile: Libyan leader Mohamed Magariaf
  3. Khan, Umar (11 August 2012). "Mohammed Magarief: From Libya’s most hunted man to National Congress speaker". Libya Herald. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  4. Grant, George (12 August 2012). "Analysis: Magarief victory paves way for emergence of Abushagur as PM". Libya Herald. Retrieved 24 August 2012. "A one-time ambassador to India, Magarief has a consistent track record as an anti-Qaddafi stalwart, having established the NFSL in 1981 and survived no fewer than three attempts on his life by the Qaddafi regime subsequent to that."
  5. Joseph T. Stanik. El Dorado Canyon:Reagan's Undeclared War With Qaddafi. Naval Institute Press, 2003. p.41
  6. V. Cherniavskii. The CIA in the dock. Progress Publishers. 1983. p.83
  7. Metz (1987).
  11. "New Libya parliament elects Mohammed Magarief as head". BBC News. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
  • Banks, Arthur S., Thomas C. Muller, and William Overstreet. Political Handbook of the World 2008, CQ Press, 2008.
  • International Security Council, Global affairs, Volume 1, Issues 3-4, 1986, pp. 56–59.
  • International Strategic Studies Association, Defense & foreign affairs handbook, 2002 - Technology & Engineering
  • Metz, Helen Chapin (1987). "LIBYA: a country study, Chapter 4. Government and Politics: Opposition to Qadhafi: Exiled Opposition". Federal Research Division, Library of Congress.
  • Vandewalle, Dirk (2006). History of Modern Libya. Cambridge University Press.