Libya's transitional council hands over power

Libya will see the first peaceful transition of power in decades as the interim NTC govt hands over its power.

Story highlights

  • Ceremony marks the first peaceful transition of power in more than 40 years in Libya
  • Security issues remain a major concern
  • Moammar Gadhafi was ousted and killed last year

Libya's National Transitional Council handed over power Wednesday to the General National Congress, the national assembly formed by last month's elections.

The ceremony in a conference center in Tripoli marked the country's first peaceful government transition since before Moammar Gadhafi seized power in 1969.

Wednesday's event was held on the 20th day of Ramadan, a date chosen to mark the anniversary of the start of the liberation of the capital city from Gadhafi's grip.

Gadhafi's son seeks travel ban waiver, lawyer says

NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil and the oldest member of the body, Mohammed Ali Salim, signed documents marking the event. Jalil then walked to the microphone and announced that the NTC had handed over the "constitutional powers of running the country" and that the GNC was, from that moment, the "sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people."

Libya's game changer: Mahmoud Jibril
Libya's game changer: Mahmoud Jibril

    JUST WATCHED

    Libya's game changer: Mahmoud Jibril

MUST WATCH

Libya's game changer: Mahmoud Jibril 13:05
What's next for Arab Spring countries?
What's next for Arab Spring countries?

    JUST WATCHED

    What's next for Arab Spring countries?

MUST WATCH

What's next for Arab Spring countries? 04:09
What's next for Libya after elections?
A High Election Commission worker collects ballot boxes from different polling stations to prepare for the final counting at Maatiga airport in Tripoli on July 8, 2012.

    JUST WATCHED

    What's next for Libya after elections?

MUST WATCH

What's next for Libya after elections? 03:34

As he spoke, the crowd rose to its feet and broke out in cheers, with some chanting "Allahu Akbar!" ("God is Great!") Others chanted a line that had become famous during the revolution: "The blood of martyrs will not go wasted!"

Many cried at the empowerment of the new assembly, which represents the country's first body formed in a free and fair election in more than 47 years.

Interim Prime Minister Abdul Rahim al-Kib appeared moved as he hugged Jalil.

The special representative of the secretary general of the United Nations to Libya, Ian Martin, smiled as Jalil announced the handover.

Members of the 200-person body took the oath of office en masse, and Jalil told them what they already knew: they face major challenges in security and disarmament.

Militias who helped oust Gadhafi continue to operate without government oversight, still hold thousands of detainees and continue to carry out arbitrary detentions.

Libya rebels move onto Syrian battlefield

On Sunday, unknown individuals attacked the residence of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Misrata. None of the seven staff members inside the building at the time of the attack was hurt, but the building suffered extensive damage, the ICRC said in a statement.

The attack marked the fifth in less than three months against the ICRC in Misrata and Benghazi and led Ishfaq Muhamed Khan, the head of the ICRC's delegation in Libya, to suspend operations in those two cities.

In addition, a bomb exploded Saturday in central Tripoli in what officials said was a local dispute.

And last week, a bomb exploded near a security headquarters building in Benghazi. Officials reported defusing two other bombs around that time, including one found in the basement of the Tibesti Hotel, which is frequented by government officials, foreign delegations and nationals.

It was not clear when the GNC's first official meeting would be held.

One of its first jobs will be to elect a speaker and deputies. It will have 30 days from its first official session to appoint a prime minister. It is also tasked with overseeing the drafting of a constitution.

Kidnapped Libya Olympic chief released

      CNN recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.