TRIPOLI, Libya – Libya’s new leaders will declare liberation today, officials said, a move that will start the clock for elections after months of bloodshed that culminated in the death of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
The long-awaited declaration of liberation will come more than two months after revolutionary forces swept into Tripoli and seized control of most of the oil-rich North African nation. It was stalled by fierce resistance by Gadhafi loyalists in his hometown of Sirte, Bani Walid and pockets in the south.
Initially, the governing National Transitional Council said the declaration of liberation would be made Saturday. But spokesman Abdel-Rahman Busin said preparations were under way for a ceremony today in the eastern city of Benghazi, the revolution’s birthplace.
The transitional leadership has said it would declare a new interim government within a month of liberation and elections for a constitutional assembly within eight months, to be followed by a parliamentary and presidential vote within a year.
On Saturday, acting Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, who has said he plans to resign after liberation, said the interim government “should last until the first presidential elections.”
Speaking at the World Economic Forum on the Jordanian shores of the Dead Sea, he also said the NTC must move quickly to disarm rebels who helped to overthrow Gadhafi’s nearly 42-year-old regime. He said it was a priority to ensure huge caches of weapons are turned in over the “next few days.”