Former RIT Professor Ousted as Prime Minister
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A former RIT professor is out as Libya's Prime Minister, less than a month after being elected. Mustafa Abushagur was given 25 days to form a government and that time ran out on Sunday.
Abushagur is a former engineering professor at RIT. Last month he became Libya's first elected Prime Minister following the overthrow and killing of long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Five years ago, Abushagur was named president of RIT's Dubai campus. After years as a professor of engineering, Abushagur said he was looking forward to the new challenge and being closer to his native Libya. Last month, the Libyan people elected Abushagur Prime Minister. He was given just 25 days to form a government. Sunday, Libya's Parliament voted Abushagur out of office, a move his colleagues at RIT believe was driven by those who want to retain control.
"I think no one could possible establish a working government in such little time,” RIT Provost, Dr. Jeremy Haefner said. “As I understand it, he really presented two different cabinets and both of them were turned down. So you see agendas and different motivations coming forward in all of that."
After his election last month, Abushagur's friends at RIT said they knew it was a tenuous situation and were concerned for his safety. But they were hopeful he would do well.
"Right now I'm thinking, yeah, I worry about his safety but I also recognize that he's very idealistic and he will continue to work hard for the good of the country,” said Dr. Harvey Palmer, RIT Dean of Engineering. “I suspect even though he's no longer Prime Minister, he'll be working with the many people who'll be striving for a stable government to do whatever he can to achieve those goals."
It is unknown what role, if any Abushagur will play in Libya's new government. RIT leaders say the door remains open for his return to either the Dubai or Henrietta campuses.