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Tunisia parties meet to agree on new premier

The political parties and the media have said there are four people vying for the post of prime minister to lead the country until elections

AFP , Friday 1 Nov 2013
Tunisia
Tunisia's Prime Minister Ali Larayedh speaks during a news conference in Tunis July 29, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
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Tunisia's political party chiefs will meet on Friday to agree on a prime minister tasked with leading the country out of a deep crisis, said the union mediating the talks.

The powerful UGTT union did not specify the time of the meeting, which would also aim to take "a set of decisions to accelerate the adoption of the constitution".

Under a roadmap for the negotiations that started a week ago, the ruling Islamist Ennahda party and opposition are to announce on Saturday the name of the person who will succeed Ali Larayedh as premier.

At the same time, the Constituent National Assembly must elect members of the future electoral commission before starting the process to adopt a constitution that has taken two years to draft and must be completed by the end of November.

The political parties and the media have said there are four people vying for the post of prime minister to lead the country until elections.

Under the timetable for the talks, a new prime minister will have two weeks to form a government of independents.

Larayedh has pledged to step down so long as the timetable is respected. The Assembly has until the end of November to also draw up a new constitution and an electoral law.

The political crisis erupted in July with the killing of opposition leader Mohamed Brahmi by suspected jihadists, triggering calls for the resignation of Larayedh's government.

Tensions ran high in Tunis late Monday as the national dialogue went ahead, and members from rival leftist and Islamist student unions clashed on a university campus, leaving five people wounded.

Since the 2011 uprising that ousted Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and kicked off the Arab Spring, Tunisia has suffered a series of attacks blamed on jihadist groups previously suppressed under the long-ruling strongman.

The extremist groups have mounted several attacks on security forces, especially in the rugged border region with Algeria.

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