Libyans say they are hopeful that real change can begin now that the National Transitional Council has formally handed power to the country’s newly elected national assembly.
NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil passed the reigns to the oldest member of the 200-strong congress at a symbolic ceremony in Tripoli on Wednesday.
MPs were elected on July 7, less than a year after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.
Large crowds gathered in the city’s Martyr Square to celebrate the transfer. Among them was Fayza Mohamed, whose son was killed in the uprising.
“Today feels like compensation for him. I gave Libya my most precious thing, my son. Today, I’m standing in the Martyr Square to salute Libya,” she said.
One of the assembly’s first tasks will be to improve security and disarm the many militias that took part in the revolt, which some Libyans says is crucial.
“We demand that the National Congress prioritises the safety of its citizens and in particular moves to disband the guerrilla groups which are not under the Ministry of the Interior or Defence,” said Abdul Hakim al-Badri, a resident of the capital Tripoli.
The national assembly will appoint the country’s new prime minister and interim government. A new constitution is due to be drafted. Once that is ready, further elections will take place.
Security was tight for Wednesday’s handover following a car bomb in Tripoli at the weekend, the first since the revolt against Gaddafi began.