Tunisia PM pledges new government 'by next week' By BBC | Sunday, February 10 2013 at 11:28
Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has pledged to form a technocratic government by the middle of next week.
Mr Jebali told reporters in Tunis that he would quit if his efforts failed.
He first made the proposal on Wednesday after the killing of opposition leader Chokri Belaid triggered protests. But his Islamist Ennahda party has opposed the plan for a non-partisan cabinet.
Meanwhile Ennahda supporters attended a rally in the capital, Tunis, a day after Mr Belaid's funeral.
Opposition supporters have blamed the governing party for his assassination - an accusation it denies.
The opposition has called for the government to stand down and four groups - including Mr Belaid's Popular Front - have pulled out of the constituent assembly, which is controlled by Ennahda.
On Saturday, Mr Jebali said he would "present the team no later than the middle of next week".
"All the ministries will be independent, including the Interior, Justice and Foreign Affairs ministries," he is quoted as saying.
"If it is accepted... I will continue to carry out my duties as head of the government. Otherwise, I will ask the president of the republic to find another candidate to form a new government."
On Wednesday, Mr Jebali announced he would dismiss the current cabinet and form a government of "competent nationals without political affiliation".
Ennahda said the Prime Minister "did not ask the opinion of his party".
'We are Muslims'
Meanwhile Ennadha organised a rally in Tunis to defend legitimacy of the constituent assembly.
Ennahda demonstrators and more conservative Salafi Muslims congregated on the steps of the National Theatre and marched down the main Bourguiba Avenue, the BBC's Wyre Davies reports from Tunis.
Groups of protesters were chanting: "We are Muslims, we will not be moved."
This is a critical time for Tunisia as Islamist parties on the one hand and liberal, secular groups on the other are divided in their views on how the country should develop, our correspondent says.
With pro- and anti-government protests almost daily, a compromise is long overdue, he adds.
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