Libya prepares for liberation ceremony

The Guardian reports: Libya’s transitional government will finally declare the country liberated on Sunday following the capture and killing of the ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Military official Abdel-Rahman Busin said the governing National Transitional Council (NTC) had begun preparations for a liberation ceremony on Sunday in the eastern city of Benghazi, birthplace of the Libyan revolution.

The declaration of liberation comes after Nato announced it would officially end its seven-month operation in Libya on 31 October.

In another step towards transforming the former dictatorship into a democracy, the interim prime minister Mahmoud Jibril said on Saturday that Libyans should be allowed to vote within eight months to elect a national council that would draft a new constitution and form an interim government.

In the meantime, the priority was to remove weapons from the country’s streets and restore stability and order, Jibril said at the World Economic Forum in Jordan.

“The first election should take place within a period of eight months, maximum, to constitute a national congress of Libya, some sort of parliament,” he said.

“This national congress would have two tasks: draft a constitution, on which we would have a referendum, and the second to form an interim government to last until the first presidential elections are held.”

The Nato secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said late on Friday that the 31 October end to the alliance’s operation would be confirmed formally next week. Diplomats said Nato air patrols would continue over Libya for the next nine days as a precautionary measure to ensure the stability of the new regime and would be gradually reduced, assuming there were no further outbreaks of violence.

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