Libya's new leaders on Monday began the tough task of forging an interim government uniting the nation's disparate political forces after 42 years of Muammar Gaddafi's iron-fisted rule, promising a system of Islamic sharia law.
"Today, we begin preparing for a new phase... the phase after the liberation, the phase that we will plan and work hard for the future of Libya," said Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice chairman of the National Transitional Council.
"Let us start work on the adoption of the constitution," he said late Sunday as he declared Libya's "liberation" from Gaddafi's rule at a colourful ceremony attended by tens of thousands in the eastern city of Benghazi, where the uprising against the despot was launched eight months ago.
"Declaration of liberation. Raise your head high. You are a free Libyan," Ghoga told the jubilant crowd.
Under the NTC's roadmap, an interim government is to be formed within a month and elections for a constituent assembly to draft a new basic law held within eight months -- the first democratic vote since Gaddafi came to power in a coup 42 years ago. Parliamentary and presidential elections would be held within a year after that -- or within 20 months of Sunday's declaration.
Gaddafi still on show
Libyans filed past Muammar Gaddafi's decomposing body for a fourth day on Monday, keen to see for themselves that the fallen strongman was dead, while talks dragged on among emerging local factions over disposing of the corpse.
Fighters guarding the darkening body and those of Gaddafi's son Mutassim and his former army chief had placed plastic sheeting under them as fluids leaked into the market cold store in Misrata, where they had been taken after their capture and killing in Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte on Thursday.
"God made the pharaoh as an example to the others," said Salem Shaka, visiting the bodies on Monday.
"If he had been a good man, we would have buried him. Another man, who said he had driven 400 km to see the bodies, said: "I came here to make sure with my own eyes ... All Libyans must see him."