Prime Minister Larayedh unveils new Tunisian government | News | DW | 08.03.2013
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Prime Minister Larayedh unveils new Tunisian government

Prime Minister-designate Ali Larayedh has unveiled Tunisia's new government. The Islamist-led coalition is expected only to serve until a new election is held before the end of the year.

Larayedh formally submitted Tunisia's new cabinet to President Moncef Marzouki on Friday.

"I presented to the president the dossier containing the list of the new government and a summary of the government program," Larayedh announced on television. "We expect that the government line-up will receive the confidence."

As with the previous government, the ruling coalition is led by the Islamist Ennahda party and backed by the center-left Ettakatol and Marzouki's secular Congress for the Republic party. That coalition controls 109 out of 217 seats in National Constituent Assembly, giving them the majority needed for cabinet approval.

Although several ministers kept their posts, Ennahda surrendered control of key interior, justice and foreign ministries to independents. Former UN ambassador Othman Jarandi was named foreign minister. Lofti Ben Jedou and Rachid Sabbagh – both of whom are judges – were named interior and defense minister respectively.

Larayedh said the new cabinet would work "to the end of 2013 at the latest," assuming a new constitution was adopted and legislative and presidential elections were held in the meantime. He suggested those elections could take place in October or November, but said that was a job for the assembly.

The prime minister-designate, who replaced Hamadi Jebali after he resigned last month, said he hoped to get back to work as soon as the cabinet was approved.

"Our country needs work and discipline … we need national unity," he said.

Jebali stepped down after the assassination of secular leftist opposition politician Chokri Belaid on Feburary 6. That event sparked the country's worst unrest since the revolution to overthrow longtime strongman President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago.

dr/hc (AFP, Reuters, dpa)