Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

Italy on Monday wished success to academic Abdel Rahim al-Kib after he was elected to head the new Libyan transitional government.

“Italy... is ready to offer the support that your government will judge necessary on the road toward the building of a new, free and democratic Libya,” Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said in a statement.

“I extend to you my best wishes of success.”

Foreign Minister Franco Frattini earlier offered Italy's “sincere wishes for success to take a new Libya toward democracy and economic recovery in the interest of the Libyan people.”

“Italy, a friend of the Libyan people, will continue to support with conviction the efforts of the NTC and other democratic forces of the Libyan people toward success of the transition and a complete recovery for the country,” said the minister of Libya's former colonial power.

Kib, who hails from the Libyan capital Tripoli, won a vote cast by members of the National Transitional Council (NTC) late on Monday and vowed to make human rights his priority after his election.

“We guarantee that we are going to build a nation that respects human rights and does not accept the abuse of human rights. But we need time,” he told a press conference shortly after the vote.

Kib came out in front in the battle for the post ahead of four other candidates in the first round, winning 26 out of 51 votes cast by members of the NTC. - Sapa-AFP