New cabinet approved by Tunisian parliament

Photo: New cabinet approved by Tunisian parliament / Arab World

A technocratic caretaker government meant to lead the country towards its next elections was approved on Wednesday by Tunisia's parliament, Alarabiya reported.

The list of individuals, proposed by Prime Minister-designated Mehdi Jomaa, was approved by 149 lawmakers, with 20 voting against and 24 abstaining.

The line-up, which took weeks of discussions to finalize, will replace the Islamists Ennahda party, which said last year it would step down from power during the height of Tunisia's political turmoil.

Behind the scenes on Tuesday, Jomaa, an industry minister in the outgoing government, faced backlash from critics who said the caretaker cabinet included members of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's former regime.

Ben Ali's regime was toppled by the once-banned Ennahada party, and the secular opposition have argued over the legacy of the revolution that toppled the leader three years ago.

The tension between the two groups was exacerbated last year after two oppositions MPs were assassinated by suspected jihadists.

Under the roadmap agreed upon, parliamentary and presidential polls are due by the end of 2014.

On Sunday, the parliament adopted a new constitution.

The new charter is a product of two years of vicious debat between rival factions over the wording of the document, mostly over the role of Islam and women's right. Despite some inconsistences, it is largely regarded as the most liberal constitution in the Arab world.

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