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Africa

Libyan deputy leader steps down after angry protests

The deputy chief of Libya's National Transitional Council has stood down after a series of angry protests against the administration. Demonstrators say the interim body has failed to live up to expectations.

NTC Vice-chairman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga

Ghoga said an "atmosphere of hatred" had arisen

The deputy leader of Libya's National Transitional Council stood down on Sunday after angry protests led to the storming the council's headquarters in the city of Benghazi.

Vice-chairman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, one of the highest-profile members of the administration, said that a national consensus that led to the uprising against former leader Moammar Gadhafi had given way to an "atmosphere of hatred."

"My resignation is for the benefit of the nation and is required at this stage," Ghoga told Al Jazeera television. "My resignation shows that the NTC is a tribune for fighting for a cause and not a governing body. We are not looking for posts," he said.

Rebels in Bengahzi during the conflict

Benghazi was the center of opposition to Gadhafi throughout the Libyan uprising

Late on Saturday, a crowd demanding the resignation of senior NTC members forced their way into the body's headquarters in Benghazi, seizing computers and furniture. Protesters accuse the body of corruption and not moving swiftly enough to introduce reforms.

Suspicion over Gadhafi ties

Ghoga, who had served as the NTC's official spokesman, is unpopular with many Benghazi residents because of his belated defection from the Gadhafi regime. The city served as the rebels' base throughout the uprising.

Opposition to the council has been stirred by concerns that many members have links to Gadhafi, while former rebels were being sidelined.

NTC Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil on Sunday suspended some members of the council pending investigation into corruption and links with the country’s former strongman.

An announcement was also made on Sunday that details of Libya's new election law would be delayed by a week, to be made public on January 28.

The law will establish a system under which Libyans will vote for the 200 members of a new national congress, to be elected before June 23.

Author: Richard Connor (AP, AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Kyle James

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