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Libya interim council transfers power to newly elected assembly

The National Transitional Council of Libya (NTC) [official website, in Arabic; JURIST news archive] on Wednesday transferred its power to the newly elected interim legislature. The transfer took place minutes after the 200 congress members were sworn in. With the end of the NTC and the beginning of the national assembly Libya has marked another step toward its democratic development since the Libyan conflict [JURIST backgrounder] and subsequent end of the Muammar Gaddafi [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] regime. The United Nations welcomed the transition [UN News Centre report] and reiterated its support for Libya's democratic transition. NTC chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil stated [AFP report] that the handover of power to the 200-seat national assembly is an "historic moment" for Libya and regretted that numerous issues could not be solved while the NTC was in power, such as finding solutions for the refugee crises and successfully addressing security and disarmament issues. He also added that he is planning to retire as the NTC chairman and resign from the top panel of magistrates. The national assembly will soon assume the responsibility of drafting a new constitution for the country.

The national assembly was elected [CFR report] last month. The draft of the electoral law was finalized in February after the earlier version was revised [JURIST report] to address criticisms of the public. The finalized law provided for 20 percent of the 200 seats to be reserved for women, double of what was proposed in the earlier version. The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) [official website] had welcomed [JURIST report] the new electoral law, commenting that the country is coming closer to a democratic society. Also in February the trial against Gaddafi allies was postponed [JURIST report]. The defense's pleading stated that the trial must be transferred to the civil court because the military court lacked the authority to rule on the issue. In January, Libya was criticized for the allegations of torture and human rights violations [JURIST report]. Although the NTC expressed its commitment to human rights and legal reformation, UN Security Council [official website] was still concerned due to the lack of NTC's control over the revolutionary brigades.

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