Tunisia leftists to get finance portfolio: Sources

Reuters, Tuesday 13 Dec 2011

Coalition government sources claim finance ministry will go to the left-wing Ettkatol party, with Ennahda controlling foreign and interior matters

Mustafa Ben Jaafar, leader of Tunisia's leftist Ettakatol party (Photo: Reuters)

The finance minister in Tunisia's new coalition government will be nominated by a left-leaning party while the Islamist Ennahda party will hold the foreign affairs and interior portfolios, two coalition sources told Reuters.

They said Ennahda and its two smaller coalition partners had agreed that the finance ministry would go to the left-wing Ettakatol party. The name of the candidate was not confirmed.

The sources said Ennahda official and former political prisoner Ali Larayedh would be interior minister, and Ennahda's Rafik Abdesslem, an analyst with Qatar-based television network al Jazeera, would be foreign minister.

Abdesslem is married to one of the daughters of Ennahda's leader, Rachid Ghannouchi.

Tunisia became the birthplace of the "Arab Spring" uprisings in January when protests forced its autocratic president to flee. In its first democratic election in October, it handed power to the Islamists and their coalition partners.

Tunisia's newly-installed President Moncef Marzouki, has said he will ask Ennahda secretary general Hamadi Jbeli to be prime minister on Wednesday. After that, Jbeli is likely to formally announce his cabinet line-up within a few days.

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