Libya's transitional government has handed over power to the newly-elected National Assembly, marking the first peaceful transfer of power in the North African country's modern history.
The National Transitional Council (NTC), which has been ruling the country since last year's ouster of Libyan dictator Moammar Qadhafi, was dissolved in a late-night ceremony in capital Tripoli on Wednesday, media reports said.
NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil declared that the Assembly was now the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people. It was elected in July, 2011 in the oil-rich country's first national poll held in 60 years. Libya was without a Constitution or legislature under the autocratic rule of Qadhafi, who usurped power in a bloodless coup in 1969.
At the ceremony, Jalil admitted the NTC's failures in restoring security in the country, but said that the NTC governed in "exceptional times." Lawlessness still prevails in several parts of Libya with frequent fightings and abductions. Armed militia groups wield considerable power in some other pockets.
Jalil handed over the country's administration to Mohammed Ali Salim, the Assembly's oldest member. The 200-member Assembly is now tasked with the appointment of a government, which will rule until new elections following the drafting of a new Constitution.
Political parties are scrambling to form alliances with independent candidates in a fight for leadership in the Assembly. It is yet to be decided how to choose members of the panel drafting the Constitution.
Another challenge facing the administration is the country's volatile security, especially in Benghazi and other oil-rich eastern areas where the people and tribal chieftains are demanding increased representation in the Assembly as well as the administration.
by RTT Staff Writer
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