Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council handed over power to the country’s newly elected legislature.
It was done in a ceremony—the first peaceful power transfer in Libya’s modern history. The NTC took over the country 10 months ago after longtime former dictator Moammar Gadhafi was ousted and killed after months of civil war.
Council chief Mustafa Abdul Jalil handed over power to the National Congress’s oldest member, Mohammed Ali Salim, Wednesday night, the BBC reported.
Jalil said that while the NTC did not do well enough in securing the North African nation, it governed during “exceptional times,” reported The Associated Press.
Fireworks accompanied the ceremony, which also doubled as a celebration of the rebels’ liberation of Tripoli from Gadhafi’s forces last year.
Tarik Yousef, a Libyan senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Al-Jazeera that the NTC did not fulfill all of its responsibility and had a “patchy record of delivering on the ground of being transparent.”
“This National Congress assumes power today while at the same time being expected to act, and act soon … to deal with issues that Libyan people see as essential to the country,” he added.The power transfer represents a significant change, but many militias that fought against Gadhafi’s forces last year still control parts of the country, and not all of them support the new government.
The Congress will be tasked with selecting a new prime minister and will have to figure out how to build its institutions, because Gadhafi ruled the country for more than 40 years without a legislative body.