Tunisia’s caretaker Prime Minister has declared a new Islamist-led coalition government after a deal was reached in last-minute talks aimed at ending the country's political crisis. The cabinet will serve until fresh elections at some point in 2013.
The newly formed government, led by the Islamist Ennahda party,
also includes two secular parties - center-left Ettakatol party and
the secular Congress for the Republic, led by President Moncef
Marzouki. The legislative body will also hold some
independents within its ranks. Despite the new appointments the
coalition consists of the same parties, just with a different share
Ennahda has ceded control of key ministries, including foreign
affairs, defense and the interior.
In its statement on Facebook, Ennahda said its members only took
28 per cent of seats in Larayedh's government, which is down from
40% in the previous coalition. At the same time independents formed
48 per cent of the new cabinet.
Prime Minister Ali Larayedh said that parties reached an
agreement during “"marathon negotiations" about a political program
for the new government.
"Our country needs national unity," Larayedh told a news
conference, stressing that his government would not last beyond
this year, Reuters report. "You must be patient. The road to
democracy is long."
In the new government presented to President Moncef Marzouki,
career diplomat Othman Jarandi has been appointed Foreign minister,
Lotfi Ben Jedou will now head the Interior Ministery and Rachid
Sabbagh – The Ministry of Defence. The full list of appointees is
available on Ennahda’s Facebook
Prime Minister Ali Larayedh, who replaced resigned Hamadi Jebali
after the assassination of a prominent opposition leader Chokri
Belaid in February, was ordered to form a new government on 22
February. He had until midnight on Friday to meet a constitutional
deadline for doing so.
The murder of Belaid provoked the worst unrest in Tunisia since
the uprising that overthrew President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, two
years ago. It also led to resignations from Tunisia's
coalition government. Four people have been arrested on suspicion
of involvement in the killing.
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