Libya's National Transitional Council late Wednesday transferred power to the recently elected National Congress, nearly a year after the ousting of Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi, dpa reported.
The ceremony started shortly after midnight with a moment of silence for those who fell during Libya's uprising, followed by a speech by the head of the NTC, Mustapha Abdel Jalil, who called it a historical moment in the history of Libya.
"We are folding a page of dictatorship and opening a new page in building the state of Libya," Abdel Jalil told the congress.
The ceremony in a huge conference hall in the Libyan capital Tripoli was also attended by foreign and Arab delegates. Abdel Jalil then handed the Libyan flag to the oldest member of the National congress, Mohamed Ali Salim.
"We vow to achieve the goals which the Libyan people have sacrificed their lives for," Salim said in a brief speech after the handing over of power.
Some of the Libyan officials at the ceremony cried as Abdel Jalil carried out the transfer to Salim. Shortly afterwards, fireworks lit the skies of Tripoli and the streets were packed with people and cars celebrating and chanting "Libya will always be a free and democratic country."
The transitional council has run the country since the ouster of leader Moamer Gaddafi last year.
The 200-member assembly which was elected on July 7 will be tasked with forming a new government and will retain legislative powers for about one year, until a new parliament is elected. No date has yet been set for parliamentary elections.
The transitional council had, before the July elections, ordered that a panel be set up through a direct vote to draft a constitution. No date has been set for that poll, either.
An estimated 1.6 million Libyans, of 2.8 million registered voters, cast their ballots on July 7 to elect the assembly, in the country's first national elections in more than four decades.
The liberal-leaning Alliance of National Forces holds 39 of the 80 seats reserved for political parties. The allegiances of the 120 independent members remain unclear.
Former Libyan leader Colonel Moamer Gaddafi came to power in 1969 and ruled the country with an iron fist for more than four decades, until he was toppled and killed last year.