BENGHAZI - Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) has set out steps leading to democratic elections monitored by the United Nations within 18 months.

The plan goes into effect with a "declaration of liberation" which the NTC has not defined precisely, though NTC chairman Abdel Mustafa Jalil told reporters the conditions for such a declaration included the capture or death of Muammar Gaddafi.

The NTC's Constitution Declaration for governing during the transitional period sets out the main guidelines for the way the country is to be overseen as it emerges from six months of war.

General provisions of NTC Constitution Declaration

Libya is a democratic, independent state with Tripoli its capital, Islam its religion, sharia, Islamic law as the main source of legislation and Arabic as its official language. The rights of minority groups and all sections of society are guaranteed.

The state will establish a democratic political system based on political and party pluralism aiming for a peaceful, democratic transition of power.

All Libyans are equal before the law and are not discriminated against because of religion, faith, language, wealth, gender, ancestry, political views, social status or tribal, group or family affiliation.

The state guarantees freedom of opinion and expression, as well as freedom of the press and peaceful protests.

The state guarantees the right to form political parties, societies and civil society organizations. The formation of secret or armed societies, or societies that do not comply with public order shall not be permitted.

Governance in the transitional period

The NTC is the highest authority. It is made up of representatives of local councils who are chosen to reflect population density.

The NTC will be based in Tripoli and will appoint an Executive Office - or interim government - consisting of a head and members to run specific portfolios. The Executive Office is responsible to the NTC for implementing NTC policy.

The NTC will set up an audit bureau that will monitor revenues and expenses and ensure funds are properly used.

Steps after liberation declared

After "declaring liberation", the NTC will move to its headquarters in Tripoli and form a transitional government within 30 days. Within 90 days of declaring liberation, the NTC will issue legislation about the election of a Public National Conference (PNC), appoint an elections commission and call for the election of the PNC.

The PNC will be elected within 240 days of the declaration of liberation. It will consist of 200 elected members. The NTC will be dissolved at the first meeting of the PNC. The transitional government continues until the formation of an interim government.

Within 30 days of its first meeting, the PNC will appoint a prime minister who will nominate his government which will become an interim government.

Drafting of constitution

The PNC will appoint a Constituent Authority for drafting a constitution which should submit a draft constitution to the PNC within 60 days of its first meeting.

The PNC will approve the draft constitution and will put it to a referendum within 30 days. If it is approved by a two-thirds majority, the Constituent Authority will endorse it as the constitution, and it will be ratified by the PNC. If it is rejected, the Constituent Authority will have to re-draft it and put it to a referendum again within 30 days.

General election to be monitored by the UN

The PNC will issue a general elections law in line with the constitution within 30 days and a general election will be held within 180 days of the declaration of the laws.

A Supreme National Elections Commission, to be appointed by the PNC, will be responsible for holding general elections "under the supervision of the national judiciary and to be monitored by the UN as well as international and regional organizations".

The PNC will endorse and announce the election results. A new legislature will convene within 30 days. At its first meeting, the PNC will be dissolved and the new legislature will assume its duties.

With the first meeting of the legislature, the government will becomes a caretaker government until the appointment of a permanent government in accordance with the constitution.

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