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NTC lays out timeline to form new government

By Jill Dougherty and Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
updated 4:16 AM EDT, Thu September 22, 2011
Gadhafi loyalists attack Libyan National Transitional Council fighters at an outpost near Bani Walid on Wednesday.
Gadhafi loyalists attack Libyan National Transitional Council fighters at an outpost near Bani Walid on Wednesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The NTC plans to create an interim government
  • A prime minister will form a government
  • The Libyan people will vote on a new constitution

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Despite not yet having complete control over the entire country, Libya's National Transitional Council is already looking to the future and the logistics of setting up a new government.

Elamin Belhaj, a senior member of the NTC, told CNN the formation of a Libyan government will not be announced until anti-Gadhafi forces control the borders of the country and liberate three cities that still remain under loyalist control -- Bani Walid, Sirte and Sabha -- a task that could take up to one month, he said.

"We are not a fully established country," he said of the fact that Libya has not been completely liberated.

The NTC, he said, will expand as cities are liberated in order to give representation to all regions of the country. Ultimately the council could have approximately 80 members; it currently has 43.

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After liberation, the NTC will create an interim government by appointing a prime minister who will be responsible for forming the government. The prime minister will decide how many ministers will be in that interim government, but he must return to the NTC for approval of that government.

Belhaj explained that the NTC decided to use the expression "interim government" because "the international community wants to deal with us through a government."

That interim government will prepare for the election of a National Congress within eight months, a body that will have 200 members. At the creation of the congress, the NTC will cease to exist.

The National Congress, Belhaj said, will form a committee to write a constitution for Libya, which will then be presented to the Libyan people to vote on in a referendum. If it's approved, Libya will have a permanent democratic constitution for the first time, he said.

In the final stage of transition, Libya will create a political system, including the formation of political parties that will participate in general parliamentary and presidential elections.

When asked to comment on charges that the ranks of the NTC are divided by regional rivalries, Belhaj said there is no division in the NTC. Islamists and secularists are "all together" during this stage of revolution, he said.

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