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Tunisia swears in caretaker Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa

Tunisia has sworn in a caretaker prime minister to oversee the government ahead of elections. The move came a day after the Islamist-government resigned in an effort to bring stability to the north African country.

Mehdi Jomaa - Tunisia's former industry minister - was sworn in as prime minister on Friday. He is to head a caretaker government until elections are held later this year.

"I will do everything in my power to confront the challenges, overcome the obstacles and restore stability and security to Tunisia," Jomaa said.

The new prime minister also pledged to appoint a non-partisan cabinet comprised of technocrats as soon as possible. It would bear "no animosity towards any movement or party," he said.

Jomaa has 15 days to form a cabinet, which must then be approved by the national assembly.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Ali Larayedh resigned, bringing his government led by the Islamist Ennahda Party to close after a short term in office. The administration was seen as a failure, as continued unrest undermined its efforts to transition the country from turmoil to peace following the 2011 ouster of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

The new government faces challenges, including curbing the influence of militant jihadists and implementing economic reforms aimed at curbing unemployment, chronic poverty and inflation.

kms/hc (AP, Reuters)

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