News ID: 8958
Publish Date: 09 August 2012 - 10:00
Libya's National Transitional Council hands over power to a new assembly, marking another step towards democracy.

Libya's National Transitional Council has handed over power to a new assembly in a symbolic move marking the first peaceful transition after more than 40 years of rule by the late Muammar Gaddafi.

"I hand over the constitutional prerogatives to the General National Congress, which from now on is the legitimate representative of the Libyan people," NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil said a late-evening ceremony on Wednesday, Aug 8.

He passed the reins to the oldest member of the 200-seat legislative assembly elected on July 7 at a ceremony that was scheduled late in the day because of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month when believers fast until dusk.

A conference room was arranged in an upscale hotel in the Libyan capital as a makeshift venue for the assembly, which is due to begin its work a week from now, according to the official LANA news agency.

The authorities put in place tight security measures for the ceremony, in view of the ongoing violence in the eastern city of Benghazi and in the capital, where a car exploded during a marketplace gunbattle on Saturday.

The interior ministry said it had cordoned off the hotel and that "all the roads near or leading to the conference will be closed" between 1700 and 0100 GMT.

Representatives of civil society groups and diplomatic missions in Libya, as well as NTC and government officials, are due to attend.

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