Tunisia assembly leader sees new govt shortly
PARIS (AFP) – Tunisia’s parliamentary speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar said on Tuesday he expects a new government to be formed “in the next 24 to 48 hours”, even if disputes remain over naming ministers and the political platform.
Speaking to journalists before meeting French President Francois Hollande in Paris, Ben Jaafar said he expected a new team to be presented over the next two days by Interior Minister Ali Larayedh, who has been tasked with forming a new cabinet by Friday.
Tunisia is facing a grave political crisis after the February assassination of leftist politician Chokri Belaid, a vocal critic of the Islamist-led government.
It led to the resignation of prime minister Hamadi Jebali after he failed to forge a non-partisan government of technocrats when his ruling Islamist Ennahda party refused to back up his efforts to defuse the crisis.
While Ennahda has made a crucial concession in accepting that key ministries be entrusted to independent candidates, Ben Jaafar said that in the negotiations underway there was still disagreement over the names of the ministers.
But the national assembly leader said he hoped to see a government of competent people with “a minimum of partisan personalities.”
He also said there were disputes over the political platform and stressed that in the current climate in Tunisia “security must be the priority with an administration that is neutral and firm against violence.”
If a cabinet is not named by March 8, Ban Jaafar noted, then President Moncef Marzouk must choose another politician to try to form a government.