Tunisia takes new step on ‘long road to democracy’

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Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh unveiled a new coalition government led by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party yesterday, saying it would serve only until an election later in the year.

Mr Larayedh replaced Hamadi Jebali, who resigned following the assassination of secular politician Chokri Belaid last month, which provoked the worst unrest in Tunisia since the uprising that overthrew president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago.

Ennahda’s coalition partners – the centre-left Ettakatol and president Moncef Marzouki’s secular Congress for the Republic – are the same parties as in the previous government.

“Our country needs national unity,” Mr Larayedh told a news conference, saying his government would not last beyond this year, with elections likely to be held in October or November.

“You must be patient. The road to democracy is long,” said Mr Larayedh, interior minister in the outgoing cabinet.