Tunisian parties formalise power-sharing agreement

TUNIS- Tunisia's three main parties formalised a power-sharing agreement on Monday, 10 months after the ouster of the north African country's strongman Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.
Hamadi Jebali of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, which took the most votes in elections last month, will serve as prime minister, while the other top jobs of president and chairman of the new constituent assembly are divided between two left-wing parties.

Tunisian parties formalise power-sharing agreement
Moncef Marzouki of the leftist Congress for the Republic Party (CPR) will be president, and Ettakatol's Mustapha Ben Jaafar will chair the body tasked with drafting a new constitution.
The 217-member assembly will meet for the first time on Tuesday to confirm the three posts.
"This is a historical moment for free Tunisia," said a spokesman for Ennahda, Nurredine Bhiri, after the three parties signed their agreement in front of the press at a hotel in Tunis.
Jebali, 63, a moderate Islamist, is the deputy leader of Ennahda, whose leader, Rached Ghannouchi, is associated with a more hardline position on Islam.
Jebali's credibility comes in part from the fact that he spent 15 years in Ben Ali's jails. He speaks fluent French and has been at pains to allay fears that his party wants to impose an intolerant brand of Islam.
Marzouki, 66, also has a long track record of resistance to Ben Ali.
A doctor and the former president of the Tunisian human rights league, he was first jailed and then forced into exile until the dictator's fall.
Ben Jaafar, 71, has been described by a colleague as a hand of steel inside a velvet glove.
While his gift for dialogue and affable manner helped keep him out of Ben Ali's jails, he never gave an inch on his principles, the colleague said.
The constituent assembly is dominated by Ennahda, a party inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood, with 89 seats, while the CPR and the Ettakatol party control 29 and 20 seats respectively.
Sources said ministerial posts have also been assigned pending approval by the assembly.
Tunisia's revolt touched off a wave of pro-democracy protests across the region known as the Arab Spring.

Tuesday, November 22nd 2011

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