Middle East

Tunisia’s prime minister-designate forms new Cabinet

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki (R) receives the list of members of the proposed government from premier-designate Mehdi Jomaa (L) during the new government presentation ceremony on January 26, 2014 in Carthage Palace in Tunis. Jomaa has presented the president with the list of his proposed cabinet of independents, under a roadmap aimed at ending months of political crisis. AFP PHOTO/FETHI BELAID

TUNIS: Tunisia’s premier-designate Mehdi Jomaa said Sunday he has presented the president with the list of his proposed Cabinet of independents, under a road map aimed at ending months of political crisis.

“I have submitted the list of members of the proposed government to be subjected to a confidence vote in the National Constituent Assembly,” Jomaa announced, saying he hoped it would secure the vote “as quickly as possible.”

Under the road map agreed by Tunisia’s divided factions, the lineup consists of nonpolitical figures who will be responsible for leading the country to fresh presidential and parliamentary elections this year.

But Jomaa has chosen to keep Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou in his post, despite the demands of his critics that he step down alongside his Islamist party Ennahda.

The premier-designate drew up his final list after failing to muster sufficient political consensus by Saturday’s deadline, and after President Moncef Marzouki asked him Sunday to continue his efforts.

The formation of a technocrat administration to lead Tunisia to fresh parliamentary and presidential elections is the cornerstone of an accord reached last year to end a major political crisis triggered by the assassinations of two prominent opposition politicians.

Also Sunday, the constituent assembly was due late Sunday to vote on a long-delayed new constitution, another key requirement of the political accord.

After a series of delays, the constituent assembly convened at 16:30 GMT to vote on the charter. Its approval, would be a crucial step to getting the democratic transition back on track in the birthplace of the Arab Spring.MPs first amended three articles in the draft text, before ratifying changes to the rules of the assembly’s confidence vote, to facilitate the appointment of the caretaker Cabinet.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 27, 2014, on page 1.




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