Key Tunisian ministries go to independents

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Key Tunisian ministries go to independents

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Tunisia’s new prime minister, Ali Larayedh, has named a new coalition government to run the country until elections later this year.

It comprises the moderate Islamist party Ennahda along with the centre-left Ettakatol and the secular Congress for the Republic of President Marzouki.

It might be the same line-up as before, but this time several principal departments including the interior, foreign and defence ministries have been given to independents.

The shake up was prompted by the assassination of a prominent secular politician. Chokri Belaid was gunned down outside his home at the beginning of February.

The killing led to the worst violence in Tunisia since the overthrow of President Ben-Ali two years ago. The then prime minister, Hamadi Jebali, resigned in the aftermath.

Authorities blame extremist Salafi Muslims. The murder exposed deep rifts between the ruling Islamists and those who feared losing hard-won freedoms.