9 August 2012 The United Nations today welcomed Libya’s peaceful transfer of authority from the National Transitional Council to the newly elected National Congress, and reiterated its continuous support to assist the North African country in its democratic transition.
“I warmly congratulate the Libyans on this peaceful and democratic transfer of power, which is not only a first for this country but an inspiration for others,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Ian Martin. “It reflects the people’s confidence in their political process. It is a profound break with the past and a great leap forward on the road to a democratic and accountable State.”
On 7 July, some 2.7 million Libyans headed to the polls to vote for members of the new National Congress. Over 3,000 candidates ran for office, including more than 600 women. The election was conducted in a largely peaceful manner, receiving praise from international observers and the Security Council.
The polls were the first free elections in decades in Libya, where Muammar al-Qadhafi ruled for more than 40 years until a pro-democracy uprising last year – similar to the protests in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa – led to civil war and the end of his regime.
The National Congress will decide on the composition of a constitutional commission that will draft the North African country’s new constitution.
“Much work lies ahead to consolidate and build on what has been accomplished. This requires all Libyans, political leaders and civil society to join hands to chart the future of their country,” Mr. Martin said, adding that the UN looks forward to working with the new members of the National Congress, and with the new Government that the Congress will appoint.
Mr. Martin, who also heads the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), reiterated the readiness of the United Nations to continue to assist Libyans in their democratic transition as well as in building a security sector under democratic control and protecting human rights through the rule of law.
“At this moment of peaceful, democratic transition to new authorities, Libyans can take huge pride in what has been accomplished,” he said.
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