World Bulletin / News Desk
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki on Friday asked Interior Minister Ali Larayedh, from Ennahda party, to form a government within two weeks, his spokesman said.
Marzouki's spokesman told a news conference Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi had formally nominated Larayedh to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, who resigned on Tuesday.
Ennahda is the biggest party in the National Constituent Assembly with 89 of its 217 seats. Marzouki's secular Congress for the Republic party, the second largest with 29 seats, has already said it will join a new Ennahda-led coalition.
The assassination of secular opposition politician Chokri Belaid on Feb. 6 plunged Tunisia into its worst crisis since the overthrow of strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago.
Larayedh, 57, rejects any role for parties linked to the Ben Ali era.
A maritime engineer, Larayedh spent 15 years in jail under Ben Ali. He became interior minister when Jebali's government was formed in December 2011 after an election in October.
Jebali, who remains Ennahda's secretary-general, refused to head the next government after his own party rejected his plan for an apolitical technocrat cabinet to prepare for elections.
He had proposed the idea after Belaid's assassination, the first in Tunisia for decades. The killing ignited three days of mass protests that exposed deep rifts between Islamists and their opponents in a fledgling democracy with an ailing economy.
Political uncertainty has put negotiations on a $1.78 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund on hold and prompted Standard and Poor's to lower its long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit rating on Tunisia on Tuesday.Last Mod: 22 Şubat 2013, 14:44