Libyan rebel leaders pledge to hand over power

Muammar Gaddafi
Benghazi, Aug 17: Libya's rebel leader promised to hand over power to an elected assembly within eight months of the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi's regime, as he sketched out the country's path to democracy on Tuesday.

"The NTC will continue for no more than eight months," after the end of Gaddafi's near 42-year reign, said Mustafa Abdel Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council.

Abdel Jalil sought to draw a line under questions about the intent and the legitimacy of his un-elected council, which has become the de-facto government in the rebel-held east of Libya.

"This (transition) period is needed to establish stability... it will not exceed eight months, maybe it will be much less. After which Libyans will be called upon to elect a national congress," he told a news conference.

And with the council's international backers anxious to set out a clear path toward democracy and to avoid the country descending into chaos, Abdel Jalil said a referendum on a new constitution would come with 20 months. 


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