Libyan people with the Kingdom of Libya flags gather during celebrations for the liberation of Libya in Quiche, Benghazi October 23, 2011. REUTERS

The Libyan diaspora has played a vital role in helping to overthrow the Gaddafi regime but with the emergence of Islamists conservative factions, many questions how the new Libya will manage to embrace the progressive values.

The appointment of Abdurrahim el-Keib, a U.S.-educated engineering professor as the country's new prime minister, is seen as someone who can appeal to the Libyans and the Western powers that have supported the NTC throughout the conflict. The new Libyan PM holds a doctorate in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University and taught both there and at the University of Alabama for 20 years. He left Libya because of Gaddafi's repression but with more than two decades abroad, and little political experience many question his ability to control of the post civil war chaos.

Aware that Gaddafi's 42 years of dictatorship was built on a cult of personality, coupled with nine months of a civil war that has left a deeply fractured the country, el-Keib said soon after his election: "We guarantee that we are after a nation that respects human rights and does not permit abuse of human rights. But we need time."

El-Keib's position appears to diverge from that of his predecessor Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, whose first decree as head of the transitional government was to lift the ban of polygamy and insist that the Sharia will be used as a source of law.

But critics have already called el-Keib another "American puppet" who will actively side with the West and Libya's new leader will have to juggle the western-liberal aspirations with the more traditional and conservative views held by swathes of Libyan society, including some of the fighters that fought alongside the NTC to overthrow Gaddafi.

Pictures of an al-Qaeda flag above a Benghazi courthouse that appeared on the web Tuesday were a clear reminder that members of Islamic factions that joined the revolution will also expect their views to be represented in the soon-to-be established new cabinet, but also in the constitution.

El-Keib however is not the only Libyan from the diaspora to have become involved in the revolution.

Throughout the struggle, Libyans living in Europe, the US and the United Kingdom helped to publicise the cause with the mainstream media while others gathered medical and food supplies. Some even made their way back to Libya and joined the ranks of the rebel fighters.

Others organised protests, used social networks such as Twitter or Facebook and sent petitions to promote solidarity for the Libyan movement.

Among the diaspora, many are the children of dissidents, exiles and students who fled the country after Gaddafi took power in his 1969 coup. This physical and psycological distance makes it difficult for them to comprehend the state-of-mind of the nation terrorised for 40 years by the Gaddafi regime.

Libyan society is fractured along tribal and regional lines, while class divisions are another element of the political and economic landscape.

Thus, while members of the Libyan diaspora are set to push for the respect of human rights and a greater freedom of expression, more conservative parts of the Libyan society will want to ensure the strong Islamic character of the country.

Tribes favoured by the old regime will also want to protect their privileges, while those who spent months fighting against Gaddafi will expect to be rewarded.

Despite the differences, perhaps the common point shared by Libyans at home or abroad is the almost morbid relationship they entertained with their former leader. For years Libya and Libyans were defined by the Colonel who kept a tight grip on power by repressing the opposition and imposing a cult of personality that saw pictures, statues and buildings carry his name. He may be dead but he still casts a long shadow over Libyans everywhere.