Tunisian parties agree on new premier to lead until elections
TUNIS (REUTERS) – Tunisia’s ruling Islamists and opposition parties agreed on Saturday, Dec 14, 2013, to name the country’s current industry minister as prime minister of a caretaker technocrat cabinet to govern until elections next year.
The appointment is the first step in an agreement that will see moderate Islamist party Ennahda hand over power in the next few weeks to end a crisis that threatened Tunisia’s transition to democracy after its 2011 uprising.
Three years after its protests against autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali inspired Arab uprisings elsewhere, Tunisia has been struggling to overcome disputes over the role of Islam in one of the Arab world’s most secular countries.
After weeks of wrangling, parties agreed to name Mr Mehdi Jomaa, an aerospace engineer by training, as premier in a deal between Islamist party Ennahda and a coalition of secular parties led by a former Ben Ali official.