Outgoing Tunisian PM refuses to head another government

Outgoing Tunisian PM refuses to head another government

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Thu, 21/02/2013 - 18:31

Tunisia's outgoing Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has refused to head the next government. Instead his Islamist Ennahda party will name a replacement, according to a party statement Thursday.

Jebali, who is secretary-general of Ennahda, resigned on Tuesday after his plan for an apolitical technocrat cabinet to prepare for elections collapsed, largely because of opposition from within his party and its leader Rached Ghannouchi.

"Jebali declined to accept nomination (as next primes minister)," Ennahda said. "A new candidate will be presented to the president of the republic this week."

The assassination of secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid on February 6 plunged Tunisia into its worst political crisis since an uprising that inspired a wave of Arab revolts two years ago.

The killing sent protesters flooding into the streets, exposing the deep rifts between Tunisia's empowered Islamists and their liberal and secular-minded opponents.

Jebali had proposed a technocrat cabinet to replace his Ennahda-led coalition, which included two secular parties, to save Tunisia's fledgling democracy and ailing economy from further strife.