Tunisia names new caretaker government

The new caretakers cabinet will govern Tunisia until elections

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Tunisia’s premier-designate Mehdi Jomaa on Sunday named a new caretaker cabinet to govern until elections in one of the last steps to democracy, three years after the uprising against autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

“I have submitted the list of members of the proposed government to be subjected to a confidence vote in the National Constituent Assembly,” Agence France-Presse quoted Jomaa as saying.

Jomaa, a technocrat, was appointed in December after ruling Islamists agreed to step down in a deal with secular opponents to end a political crisis.

He named Hakim Ben Hammouda, an economist with experience at the African Development Bank, as finance minister and Mongi Hamdi, a former U.N. official, as his foreign minister.

However, he kept Lutfi bin Jidu as the minister of interior.

“We tried to bring a new team, except when it comes to security,” he told reporters.

Tunisia’s young democracy was threatened after the assassination of two secular opposition leaders last year by militant Islamist gunmen, forcing the country into a deadlock between the former moderate Islamist ruling party Ennahda and opposition parties.

After the assassination, opposition parties blamed Tunisia’s security apparatus, including the interior ministry, of failure to protect the country.

Tunisians overthrew their long-ruling dictator in 2011, setting off the Arab Spring movement.

Tunisia then elected an assembly to write a new constitution laying the foundations for the new democracy that would satisfy both its Islamist and secular elements.

(With Reuters and Associated Press)

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