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Tunisian Premier Says He’ll Resign If Government Plan Fails

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jbeli said he will step down if his attempt to form a technocratic government fails amid unrest sparked by the murder of a senior opposition leader this week.

“I am defending the interest of my country and will go forward to form this government,” Jbeli said in an interview with al-Jazeera television aired yesterday. If his Islamist Ennahda party rejects the proposal, he will submit his resignation to the president, Jbeli said.

The Feb. 6 killing of Democratic Patriots party leader Chukri Beleid and suspicions that it was carried out on Ennahda orders led to the most serious crisis in Tunisia since protests two years ago began the so-called Arab Spring Uprisings.

Jbeli and the secular president, Moncef Marzouki, condemned the assassination, urging Tunisians not to be dragged into violence. Jbeli’s announcement that he was setting up a technocratic government before elections marked a concession to an opposition that has accused Islamists of seeking to monopolize power.

Four secular opposition parties withdrew from the government after the murder, and Jbeli’s own party has rejected his proposal. Thousands of people joined anti-government protests last week as Beleid was buried.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zaid Sabah Abd Alhamid in Washington at zalhamid@bloomberg.net Joshua Gallu in Washington at jgallu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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