Tunisian parties reach deal on premier: mediator



TUNIS- Tunisia's main political parties, in talks to pick a new independent premier as a way to end a protracted political crisis, clinched an agreement to be discussed Friday, a mediator said.
The ruling Islamists and the opposition have been unable to agree on a premier since hard-won negotiations opened on October 25 to form a government of independents, draft a much-delayed constitution and prepare for elections as part of a roadmap with a tight timetable.



"After our meeting, we reached an agreement that will be presented tomorrow (Friday)," said Houcine Abassi, a mediator from the powerful UGTT union confederation.
Abassi said the accord would be presented to other political parties during a gathering for national talks aimed at ending the long-running crisis. He decliend to provide further details.
Tunisia was plunged into political crisis in July with the killing of opposition leader Mohamed Brahmi by suspected jihadists, triggering calls for the resignation of the Ennahda-led coalition government.
Under an ambitious roadmap brokered by mediators in October, the Islamist party and the opposition pledged to negotiate an interim government of independents.
But the talks were suspended shortly afterwards with the two sides unable to agree on a future prime minister.
The economic malaise and political deadlock gripping the country, along with a rise in attacks by militants, which many blame Ennahda for failing to prevent, has fuelled discontent in Tunisia, spurring a growing number of strikes and protests.
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Friday, December 13th 2013
AFP
           


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