Tunisia's ruling Ennahda party has chosen Interior Minister Ali Laarayedh as its candidate to replace Hamadi Jebali as prime minister, the party said Friday, dpa reported.
Ennahda's vice president Abdelhamid Jelassi confirmed to dpa that Ennahda's leader Rachid Ghannouchi would propose Laarayedh at a meeting with President Moncef Marzouki.
The interior minister is seen as the most pragmatic of the four candidates shortlisted to replace Jebali.
Marzouki is expected to task him with forming a coalition government.
He faces a tough task in balancing Ennahda's desire to hang onto most of the levers of power and the demands of the opposition for a more neutral administration to restore confidence in the state after the assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid.
The opposition is demanding that the Interior and Justice Ministries particularly be run by non-partisan experts.
"We are ready to negotiate the 'sovereignty' ministries in the interest of national unity but we also insist on our right to lead these ministries," Ahmed Gaaloul, a member of Ennahda's consultative council, told dpa.
Jebali resigned on Tuesday after Ennahda shot down his proposal for a completely non-partisan government.
On Thursday evening he apologized to Tunisians for failing in his mission.
"I'm sorry for having disappointed. I wasn't up to the task and I failed in my duty," he said.