Hardliner chosen to take lead in Tunisia

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Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party has chosen an interior minister seen as a hardliner to form a new government, a leading
official said yesterday, in a signal the government is unlikely to back down to opposition demands to try to smooth over the country’s political crisis.

The Ennahda party named Ali Larayedh to take over after prime minister Hamadi Jebali resigned when it rejected his proposal to form an government of technocrats.

The split between the party and Mr Jebali was seen as a deep disagreement between hardline and moderate wings. Tunisia plunged into its deepest crisis since its dictator was deposed two years ago with the assassination earlier this month of a secular opposition leader.