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Tunisia’s Prime Minister Ali Larayedh (left) shakes hands with former Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali at the government palace in Tunis, yesterday.
TUNIS: Ali Larayedh became Tunisia’s new Islamist premier yesterday, taking over from his predecessor Hamadi Jebali and faced with the task of ending a political and economic crisis gripping the country.
Speaking at the swearing in ceremony at the prime minister’s office, Larayedh said his cabinet would listen to “the concerns of the nation and the people.”
Larayedh took office a day after his coalition received parliament’s backing in a vote of confidence, and just hours after the funeral of a street vendor whose self-immolation served as a stark reminder of the problems facing the new government. The former interior minister has already promised to resolve Tunisia’s institutional crisis this year, by ensuring the adoption of a new constitution and organising elections, while creating the conditions for an economic recovery and restoring security.
Jebali, who failed to win his Ennahda party’s approval for the technocrat administration he had proposed after last month’s assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid, endorsed the team of his successor and fellow Islamist.
“Those who are hoping for the failure of the (new) government are hoping for the failure of the (democratic) experience” in Tunisia, Jebali said.
Earlier, mourners at the funeral of Adel Khazri, a 27-year-old street vendor who died on Wednesday after setting himself on fire in central Tunis, shouted slogans denouncing Larayedh’s ruling Islamist
“Ennahda, get out!” they chanted during the funeral in the impoverished town of Souk Jemaa in northwestern Tunisia, which was attended by several hundred people, according to an AFP journalist.