Tunisia awaits news of unity government

17 January 2011

Prime Minister says details of new national unity government will be announced today

Tunisia is expecting the announcement of a new national unity government on 17 January.

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi has said that details of any agreement between the political parties would be revealed on 17 January, after the parties had spent the weekend in emergency negotiations.

The country has been in a state of emergency since the deposed president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country on 14 January. Ben Ali had ruled Tunisia for 23 years.

The series of events which led to El-Abidine’s overthrow started on 17 December, when a protester set himself on fire over the lack of jobs in the country. This was to initiate a series of larger protests, which led to soldiers cracking down on the unrest. Reports from Tunis suggest that dozens of protesters were killed in the government’s crackdown.

Ben Ali dissolved the parliament and fled Tunisia last Friday after another mass rally in the country’s capital.

Parliamentary speaker Foued Mebazza was sworn in as interim president on Saturday.

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