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Tunisian PM unveils new Islamist-led government

Tunisia's PM reveals new Ennahda-led Islamist government that would leave office before the end of 2013

Reuters , Friday 8 Mar 2013
Tunisia
Tunisia's Prime Minister-designate Ali Larayedh speaks during a news conference after his meeting with Tunisia's President Moncef Marzouki (not seen) in Tunis March 7, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
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Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh unveiled a new Islamist-led coalition government on Friday that he said would serve only until an election is held before the end of the year.

The new government is led by the Islamist Ennahda party, backed by the centre-left Ettakatol and the secular Congress for the Republic led by President Moncef Marzouki - the same parties that were in the previous cabinet.

Larayedh replaced Hamadi Jebali, who resigned following the assassination of secular politician Chokri Belaid on Feb. 6, which provoked the worst unrest in Tunisia since the uprising that overthrew President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago.

Ennahda has ceded control of several key ministries to independents in the new cabinet, with career diplomat Othman Jarandi named as foreign minister, Lotfi Ben Jedou interior minister and Rachid Sabbagh defence minister.

Elyess Fakhfakh of Ettakatol, an economist, keeps the finance portfolio.

Jarandi, a former ambassador to the United Nations, has strong ties with international bodies and the West.

Ben Jedou and Sabbagh are both judges. Ben Jedou took part in an investigation into the killing of dozens of young men during the uprising that toppled Ben Ali and inspired revolts against autocrats in other Arab countries.

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