Expected unveiling of Tunisia cabinet delayed

TUNIS, Antoine Lambroschini- The expected announcement of Tunisia's new cabinet of independents, which would oversee the run-up to fresh elections as part of the post-Arab Spring political transition, was delayed Saturday.
Designated prime minister Mehdi Jomaa had been due to present his government to President Moncef Marzouki at 6:00 pm (1700 GMT), with a vote of confidence on his nominations slated for Tuesday, according to the Islamist party Ennahda.

But more than two hours after they were supposed to meet Jomaa still had not arrived, according to an AFP reporter. It was not clear what caused the delay.
The expected unveiling of the new government comes on the eve of a vote at the National Constituent Assembly on the long-delayed new constitution, which has been in preparation for more than two years.
MPs completed their line-by-line review of the text on Thursday after three weeks of intense discussion and disagreement on a range of subjects, including the role of Islam and women's rights.
The charter now needs the approval of two-thirds of the 217 assembly members to pass.
Approval of the constitution is seen as a key step in Tunisia's political transition, more than three years after long-ruling dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted by the first popular uprising of the Arab Spring.
The vote, initially announced for Saturday, was pushed back until Sunday to allow lawmakers to reform the rules of the censorship motion.
This should make it harder for the assembly to dismiss the new government, to which the ruling Ennahda agreed to hand power under a deal to end months of political deadlock.
Jomaa's government should take office at the end of next week if it secures a vote of confidence.

Sunday, January 26th 2014
Antoine Lambroschini

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