Libya’s female PM candidate says country needs a ‘woman’s touch’

Libyan political activist Amal al-Taher el-Haj has put her name forward as a candidate to succeed Prime Minister Ali Zeidan

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Libyan political activist Amal al-Taher el-Haj has submitted her name to the General National Congress as a candidate to succeed Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, if he receives a vote of no confidence from parliament this week.

El-Haj, 45, was born in Tripoli, where she is commonly known as “Mimi.” In an interview with Al Arabiya News Channel, she expressed her hopes of being Libya’s new prime minister.

She believes that her chances of being appointed as the new Libyan prime minister are high, especially since there is an ongoing political conflict in the country.

On Wednesday, Zeidan announced that any Libyan citizen has the right to be prime minister, this encouraged el-Haj to submit her application, she said.

In the interview, el-Haj stated that current Prime Minister Ali Zeidan generated an unstable political climate in the country, pushing his opponents to call for his removal. She believes that the Muslim Brotherhood and the National Forces Alliance, led by Mahmoud Jibril, are ready to oust Zeidan in a vote of no confidence.

In the phone interview with Al Arabiya, el-Haj was asked how she would feel if she became a prime minister in an Arab world ruled by men. She replied: “Since Queen Dihya (the 7th century queen of the northwestern African region known as Numidia) until now, men have not allowed women to effectively participate in Libya’s governance, but it is now the adequate time for a woman’s touch and what confirms that is that my candidacy has been greatly welcomed.

“I will not meet with any prime minister alone,” she added, “and in all cases, I always get out of the house wearing hijab.”

El-Haj previously worked with the Libyan-Italian Advanced Technology Company, which assembles helicopters parts, but resigned three days before the Feb. 17 revolution that toppled former leader Muammar Qaddafi. She is currently the director of the Free Communications Charitable Association.

El-Haj opened up about her family and their income stream, saying: “I have five brothers, one of which is an immigrant in the United States. I have also two brothers working as engineers in Libya, another one working as an accountant and the last one as an auditor. I have also have a sister who works as an accountant as well. Moreover, we inherited from a property my father that also contributes to our income.”

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