Libya's Jibril sees elections within eight months

DEAD SEA, Jordan Sat Oct 22, 2011 5:38am EDT

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DEAD SEA, Jordan (Reuters) - 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, Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril said on Saturday.

After the death of Muammar Gaddafi this week, the priority was to remove weapons from Libyan streets, restore stability and order and begin a process of national reconciliation, 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," said Jibril.

Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) has said it plans to declare the full "liberation" of Libya on Sunday after the killing of Gaddafi by fighters who overran his home town Sirte.

Gaddafi's death, which Jibril said left him feeling "relieved and reborn," achieved the main goal that united the rag-tag militias and army battalions that have battled his forces since an uprising began in February.

Stability will require the NTC -- comprised of secular liberals, Islamists and tribal elders -- to prove a willingness to compromise, a quality that was anathema under Gaddafi's system of one-man rule.

Progress would depend on two things, said Jibril, who said on October 4 he would leave office once anti-Gaddafi forces took control of the whole country.

"First what kind of resolve the NTC will show in the next few days, and the other thing depends mainly on the Libyan people -- whether they differentiate between the past and the future," he said.

"I am counting on them to look ahead and remember the kind of agony they went through in the last 42 years."

Jibril said the north African country, which Gaddafi turned into a major energy exporter, needed a vision for finding another source of income because Libya had already consumed 62 percent of its oil.

"We need to seize this very limited opportunity," he said. "We should use this time properly to build an alternate economy as fast as possible."

(Editing by Louise Ireland)

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