Tunisia to form government of technocrats

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 07, 2013 07:10 hrs

Tunis, Feb 7 (IANS/EFE) Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali promised Wednesday to form a new government of independent technocrats whose mission will be to prepare for elections in the shortest possible time.

The aim of the new government will be to emerge "from this exceptional situation as soon as possible", he said in a nationally broadcast address a few hours after the assassination of secularist political leader Chokri Belaid, which unleashed a wave of protests.

After expressing his condolences over the death of Belaid, gunned down early Wednesday as he was leaving his home, Jebali said he had "learned his lesson".

Regarding the assassination of the opposition leader, he said that "it's a repugnant crime that all the people condemn" before emphasizing that "today is a sad day".

Jebali, who did not specify any dates or names in reference to the new government of technocrats, said that all the ministries will be changed and added that the new team will be one that is "reduced" in size.

He also announced that the head of government and his ministers will not be able to run in the elections, which he said will be conducted under broad international supervision.

Jebali's public appearance came after the main opposition parties demanded the resignation of the government and thousands of people took to the streets to protest in a dozen Tunisian cities.



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