The president of Libya's parliament, Mohammed al-Megarif, has resigned his post in compliance with a law banning Gadhafi-era officials from holding office. Megarif led an opposition-in-exile group for decades.
As the first official to be ousted by the ban, Megarif told a plenary session of the General National Congress on Tuesday that he was resigning out of respect for the rule of law, calling for national reconciliation after Libya's bloody civil war.
"I leave with my head held high and my conscious clear," Megarif said. The leader of the liberal National Front Party, Megarif became parliamentary president last August, after Libya held its first elections since 1952.
He held several government posts under the Gadhafi regime during the 1970s and served as Libya's ambassador to India in 1980, then defecting to the opposition.
The 73-year-old Britain-educated economist co-founded the National Front for the Salvation of Libya, an exile group that sought to overthrow the Gadhafi regime. Megarif lived in the United States for 20 of his 31 years of exile.
"Achieving harmony and national reconciliation, along with transitional justice, is the first and most important goal for all of us," Megarif said. "There must be a comprehensive plan that everybody works to make succeed."
The Political Isolation Law was passed by the General National Congress on May 5, under pressure from gunmen who occupied the Justice and Foreign Ministries in Tripoli. The law does not come into effect until June 5.
slk/msh (AFP, AP, dpa)