Tunisian labor union backs reshuffle of interim government

14:09, January 28, 2011      

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In an address on Tunisian television, Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced on Thursday the make- up of the new Tunisian interim government, following a major reshuffle aimed at quieting the grievances of a large number of Tunisians calling for the ousting of former RCD ministers.

In a statement released minutes before the announcement of the reshuffle, the country's powerful labor union (UGTT) said that it will back the new government led by Prime Minister Ghannouchi.

In spite of its backing of the government, UGTT refused to take part in it.

Since the announcement of the first interim government 10 days ago, thousands of Tunisian staged demonstrations protesting against what they viewed as a government dominated by too many former RCD ministers.

"Twelve ministers have been replaced while 9 remain in post," said Ghannouchi, who urged Tunisians to return to work and to resume normal life.

"The situation is serious," said Ghannouchi, adding that the previous period will no doubt have adverse effects on the country' s economy. Only two ministers who were part of Ben Ali's government remain. All senior cabinet positions, including the interior, defense, and foreign ministries have changed hands, and have been attributed to independent figures. The regions from where the revolution emerged are also represented in the new government.The ministry of interior was attributed to an independent state attorney, Farhat Rajhi and the ministry of foreign affairs goes to a retired career diplomat, Ahmed Ounaies.

It was an surprising appointment of Elyes Jouini, a high-level economist living in France, in the position of minister delegate to the prime minister, in charge of administrative and economic reform. Historical opposition figures, Nejib Chebbi and Ahmed Brahim retain their posts.

Source: Xinhua

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