Africa

Tunisia Industry Minister Mehdi Jomaa to be new PM

  • 14 December 2013
  • From the section Africa
Mehdi Jomaa (R) shakes hands with Libyan Oil Minister Abdelbari al-Arusi in Tunis April 12, 2013
Mehdi Jomaa (R) has served as industry minister until now

Tunisian politicians have agreed on a new prime minister after talks between the ruling Islamist Ennahda party and the opposition.

Mehdi Jomaa, industry minister, will head a caretaker government until elections are held next year.

Mr Mehdi's name was one of six put forward for the post by the parties involved in Saturday's negotiations.

Tunisia has been in crisis since the assassination of two opposition politicians earlier this year.

The appointment is part of a deal reached on Thursday that will see the moderate Islamists hand over power to end the political deadlock.

Political wrangling

The murders of prominent left-wing figure Chokri Belaid in February and opposition politician Mohammed Brahmi in July led to intensified anti-government protests.

Ennahda condemned the killings - but the opposition accused it of failing to rein in radical Islamists.

The political wrangling that followed has threatened to disrupt a democratic transition that began after Tunisians threw out their decades-old government at the beginning of the 2011 uprisings, widely referred to as the Arab Spring.

Protests against the authoritarian rule of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali inspired uprisings across the Arab world.

People demonstrate against Tunisia's Islamist-led government in Tunis (Sept. 7, 2013)
Anti-government protests were triggered by the killings of opposition figures