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Libya rebel leaders say they're in charge. Not so fast, say some in Tripoli.

Western rebels say they won't accept a government run by the National Transitional Council's chairman, who is from the east and has yet to be seen in Tripoli since rebels seized the capital.

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As rebel fighters held back the sparse traffic, a Russian-made jet landed on an improvised airstrip on the Nalut to Jadu road in Libya’s western mountains.

It was Aug. 22, and fighting was still raging between rebels and supporters of strongman Muammar Qaddafi in Tripoli. But several members of the National Transitional Council, based in the eastern city of Benghazi, had arrived at the makeshift airstrip to make the two-hour drive to Tripoli and establish the NTC as Libya's sovereign power.

Among them was Faraj Sayeh Eltayef, a Tripoli native and minister in the NTC’s executive council, who announced on Saturday that a democratic transition is already well under way.

“We’ve established task forces for every sector in Tripoli: water, electricity, security, preserving the infrastructure,” said Mr. Eltayef, who is in charge of preparing the country for a democratic transition. “In eight months' time we will hold elections for a national council, which will select a new government. At the same time, 15 individuals will be appointed to write a new constitution."

But while the rebels successfully came together to expel Mr. Qaddafi from Tripoli after 42 years of dictatorship, their ability to maintain that unity and lead a successful transition to democracy is already coming into question.


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