Tunisia President Names Interior Minister Larayedh as Premier

Tunisia’s president invited Interior Minister Ali Larayedh to form a government, after the previous premier quit saying Tunisia’s political impasse requires an above-party administration.

President Moncef Marzouki asked Larayedh to name a Cabinet within two weeks, presidential spokesman Adnan Mancer said by phone. Larayedh is from the Islamist Ennahda Party, the largest bloc in parliament, as is outgoing premier Hamadi Jbeli.

Jbeli resigned on Feb. 19 after failing to form a technocratic government to ease tensions heightened by the assassination of opposition leader Chukri Beleid on Feb. 6. He turned down the party’s request to stay as premier.

In a televised address late yesterday, Jbeli apologized for “disappointing” the people in solving the current political crisis. He urged Tunisians to unite, be patient and stop protests “until the revolution wins.”

The impasse has underscored the continued threats to stability in Tunisia two years after the uprising that ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

After Beleid’s killing, thousands joined street protests against Ennahda and the government. Opposition politicians have called for the breakup of pro-government militias that they blame for violence in recent months.

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