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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Tunisia Announces New Government Line-Up Excluding Islamist Party

TUNIS Ė Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid announced on Friday the formation of a new government that does not include members of the Islamist party, Ennahda.

Essid presented a list of 21 names, including technocrats placed in charge of the defense, interior and justice ministries, while the foreign affairs portfolio was given to Nidaa Tounes party chief Taieb Baccouche.

Analysts said they believe the Ennahda party has succeeded in imposing its demands that these key ministries should be held by independent and neutral figures.

The Free Patriotic Union (UPL), which placed third in last Octoberís parliamentary elections, also achieved its aims by taking charge of the ministries of youth and sports, tourism, investment and economic development.

Earlier, the UPL withdrew from negotiations to protest the possibility that another party, Afek Tounes, might occupy those ministries.

But Afek Tounesí head Yassin Ibrahim said that his party rejected having only three ministries because that figure does not reflect the actual weight of his party.

Following a meeting with UPLís chairman Slim Riahi on Thursday, Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi vowed to resolve those differences.

The new cabinetís line-up must be approved by the Assembly of Peopleís Representatives (ARP) before Jan. 31.

If the new cabinet does not acquire a majority of votes in the parliament, Essid will have another 30 days to submit a second and definitive proposal to the lawmakers.

 

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