Mohammed Magariaf

Mohammed Yousef el-Magariaf (also written as Magariaf, Elmegaryaf or Almegaryaf)[1] or, as he writes on his official website, Dr. Mohamed Yusuf Al Magariaf[2] (Arabic: محمد يوسف المقريف‎; born 1940), is a Libyan politician who served as the President of the General National Congress from its first meeting in August 2012 until his resignation in May 2013. In this role he was effectively Libya's de facto head of state,[3][4][5] until his resignation in May 2013.[6]

Mohamed Magariaf
Megariaf cropped GNC.jpg
President of the General National Congress of Libya
In office
9 August 2012 – 28 May 2013
Prime MinisterAbdurrahim El-Keib
Ali Zeidan
DeputyJuma Ahmad Atigha
Preceded byMohammed Ali Salim (Acting)
Mustafa Abdul Jalil (Chairperson of the National Transitional Council)
Succeeded byGiuma Ahmed Atigha (Acting)
Nouri Abusahmain (full force)
Member of the General National Congress
for Ajdabiya
Assumed office
8 August 2012
Preceded byPosition established
Secretary General of the National Front for the Salvation of Libya
In office
May 1982 – 5 August 2001
Succeeded byIbrahim Abdulaziz Sahad
Ambassador of Libya to New Delhi
In office
1977 – 31 July 1980
Personal details
Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf

1940 (age 79–80)
Benghazi, Libya
Political partyNational Front Party (2012–present)
Alma materUniversity of Benghazi
WebsiteOfficial website

Magariaf 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 the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.[7]

Early life and opposition careerEdit

Early careerEdit

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

He served from 1972 to 1977 as head of the board of auditors at the Libyan Arab Republic's Revenue Court, where he proved uncomfortable for the regime because of his anti-corruption stance and was subsequently designated Libya's Ambassador to India. After being recalled to Libya in 1980, he announced his defection in Morocco due to his certainty that he would be purged on return.[8] He survived at least three assassination attempts.[9]

With the NFSL: 1984-2011Edit

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.[8] Al-Magariaf, the "National Front for the Salvation of Libya" broadcast opposition propaganda into Libya. Magariaf dedicated himself to overthrowing the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya with violence.[10] 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.[8] 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,[11] 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 from South Africa, amongst others.[12] 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.

Mainstream political careerEdit

Magariaf, alongside former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

After the 2011 civil war, Magariaf returned to Libya from the United States, where he had spent most of his 30 years in exile.[13] He is now the leader of National Front Party, the formal successor of the NFSL[8] which was dissolved on 9 May 2012, after the National Transitional Council seized power.[9] Magariaf is Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.[14]

During the Libyan Congressional election of 2012, Magariaf was elected congressman, within the National Front Party.

Presidency of the General National CongressEdit

Magariaf was elected President of the General National Congress (GNC) on 9 August 2012. He received 113 votes in Congress against 85 votes for his independent rival, Ali Zeidan who went on to become Prime Minister in November.[9] After serving as President for 9 months he resigned in May 2013 in anticipation of the political isolation law which was passed, barring him from office due to his previous role as an ambassador under the Gaddafi regime.[15]

Assassination attemptEdit

Magariaf survived an attempt on his life in the southwestern Libyan town of Sabha on 4 January 2013.[16][17] He had been visiting the town with a GNC delegation as part of a fact-finding mission aimed at helping the government restore security and crack down on smuggling operations in the south of the country. Magarief told reporters that his hotel was attacked by gunmen, triggering a three-hour gun battle with his personal bodyguards in which three of them were injured.[16] Magarief escaped the incident unharmed.

Political ideologyEdit

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.[18][9] His agenda is to focus on the Libyan economy.[8][9]


  • 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.


  1. ^ "Profile: Libyan leader Mohamed Magariaf", by Rana Jawad, BBC News, 12 October 2012.
  2. ^ Official website of Dr. Al Magariaf Archived 2014-05-06 at the Wayback Machine. (in English & Arabic)
  3. ^ "Libya leader Magarief vows to disband illegal militias". BBC News. 23 September 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2013. Mr Magarief, the parliamentary speaker who acts as head of state until elections next year.
  4. ^ "Gaddafi opponent elected Libya assembly chief". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 11 August 2012. Magarief, seen as a moderate Islamist, is effectively Libya's acting head of state, but the true extent of his powers is yet to be determined.
  5. ^ Grant, George. "Magarief elected as Speaker of National Congress". Libya Herald. Retrieved 6 January 2013. As Speaker, Magarief is now effectively Libya’s acting head of state, although the true extent of his powers remain undetermined as yet.
  6. ^ Libyan parliamentary chief resigns after political isolation law Europe Online Magazine
  7. ^ Jawad, Rana (October 12, 2012). "Profile: Libyan leader Mohamed Magariaf". BBC News – via
  8. ^ a b c d e Khan, Umar (11 August 2012). "Mohammed Magarief: From Libya's most hunted man to National Congress speaker". Libya Herald. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
  9. ^ a b c d e Grant, George (12 August 2012). "Analysis: Magariaf victory paves way for emergence of Abushagur as PM". Libya Herald. Retrieved 24 August 2012. A one-time ambassador to India, Magariaf 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.
  10. ^ Stanik, Joseph T. (May 24, 2003). El Dorado Canyon: Reagan's Undeclared War with Qaddafi. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 9781557509833 – via Google Books.
  11. ^ Metz (1987).
  12. ^ Sadiki, Larbi. "Libya's postponed democracy".
  13. ^ "On eve of Libya's first real elections, many candidates tout time spent in exile". The World from PRX.
  14. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-06. Retrieved 2012-08-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Libya GNC Chairman Muhammad al-Magarief resigns". BBC News. 28 May 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  16. ^ a b "Magarief assassination attempt fails in Sabha". Libya Al- Ahrar. 6 January 2013. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  17. ^ Little, Tom (6 January 2013). "Reports emerge of Magarief assassination attempt in Sebha". Libya Herald. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  18. ^ "New Libya parliament elects Mohammed Magarief as head". BBC News. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2012.
Party political offices
New office Leader of the National Front Party
Succeeded by
Mohamed Ali Darrat
Political offices
Preceded by
Mohammed Ali Salim
President of the General National Congress of Libya
Succeeded by
Giuma Ahmed Atigha
Military offices
New title Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan National Army
Succeeded by
Giuma Ahmed Atigha