Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki named Ali Larayedh (pictured) as the country’s new prime minister on Friday following the resignation of Hamadi Jebali earlier in the week. Larayedh hails from the hardline wing of the ruling Ennahda Party.
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki tasked Interior Minister Ali Larayedh on Friday with forming a new government after Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali resigned amid a major political crisis.
Marzouki said he “wished Larayedh success and will hand him this evening the letter officially appointing him [as Jebali's successor],” presidential spokesman Adnene Mancer said.
In Pictures: Unrest at opposition leader's funeral
Tunisian security forces arrested a young man near the cemetery where assassinated opposition leader Chokri Belaid was buried on Friday.
At least 40,000 people turned out for Belaid’s funeral.
Thousands of mourners cried out “Allah Akbar” (“God is great”) during the ceremony and sang Tunisia’s national anthem.
Breaking with Muslim tradition, hundreds of women entered the cemetery to pay homage to Belaid, who was a staunch defender of women’s rights.
The funeral scene was chaotic, with a helicopter constantly circling overhead.
Black smoke caused by tear gas billowed from a building near the cemetery’s entrance.
Crowds of people fled as police fired tear gas after thugs set fire to cars and threw stones at security forces.
A Tunisian man held up a tear gas canister.
Interior ministry spokesperson Khaled Tarrouche said that at least 132 people had been arrested after clashes broke out between protesters and security forces near the cemetery and in downtown Tunis.
Security forces finally regained control of the situation in the afternoon, but dozens of cars were destroyed near the cemetery.
Larayedh, who hails from the ruling Ennahda Party’s hardline wing, has been widely criticised by the opposition for failing to ensure stability in Tunisia. His nomination is expected make the task of finding consensus and building a coalition with Tunisia’s other political parties more difficult.
The party chose Larayedh in an overnight meeting and he was appointed by Marzouki on Friday afternoon.
Tunisia was plunged into a political crisis after the assassination of a leftist politician two weeks ago. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali resigned after his own party rejected his proposal to form an apolitical government of technocrats.
The split between the party and Jebali was seen as a deep disagreement between the party’s hardline and moderate wings.
Larayedh also announced late Thursday the arrest of several suspects in the assassination of opposition lawyer Chokri Belaid, saying “rapid progress” had been made in the investigation.
He gave few details, however, and could not confirm whether those arrested were the suspected killers or say who was behind the assassination.
Belaid was shot four times outside his home on February 6, provoking days of unrest as many Tunisians held the government responsible for his death.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-02-22