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In remarks Wednesday, Mr. Abdul Jalil acknowledged the council’s failure to restore security but said the council had led in “exceptional times.”

Mr. Abdul Jalil, who served as justice minister in dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, defected in the early days of the revolution.

The newly elected representatives face the challenge not only of restoring security but also uniting tribes and building infrastructure ravaged by the revolution and years of neglect.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton congratulated the Libyan people on the peaceful transfer of power.

“Less than one year after an entrenched, brutal dictatorship, the Libyan people are writing a new chapter in their history,” she said.

Gadhafi, who ruled Libya for 42 years, was killed by revolutionary militias on Oct. 20 in his hometown of Sirte, a city on the Mediterranean coast about 230 miles east of Tripoli.

Mrs. Clinton said the new parliament has “important work ahead of it as it faces the challenges of building democratic institutions and ensuring the drafting of a new constitution through a transparent process, protecting the universal rights of all Libyans, promoting accountable and honest government, and establishing security throughout the country.”

Mrs. Clinton pledged support for Libya. “The United States stands ready to work with the Libyan people during this historic time,” she said.