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Tunisian PM to quit after elections

Arab World Materials 22 January 2011 07:34
Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi has promised to organize Tunisia's first democratic election since independence from France in 1956 and has announced that he will step down after the election.
Tunisian PM to quit after elections

Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi has promised to organize Tunisia's first democratic election since independence from France in 1956 and has announced that he will step down after the election.

Ghannouchi said in an interview with Tunisian television, which was recorded on Thursday, "After the transition, I will retire from political life," AFP reported on Friday.

He also promised to organize "transparent and democratic elections - the first since independence." He has said the parliamentary and presidential elections will be held within six months, but no dates have been set. However, the country's constitution calls for the election to be held in less than two months.

Dissident journalist Taoufik Ben Brik, who lives in Paris, said he plans to run in the upcoming presidential election. Moncef Marzouki, another dissident who returned to Tunisia this week after years of exile in Paris, has also said he wants to run.

Earlier on Friday, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Interior Ministry in Tunis to demand the dissolution of the post-revolution interim government.

"You stole the wealth of the country but you're not going to steal the revolution! Government resign! We will stay loyal to the blood of the martyrs," the protesters chanted.

The demonstration was held on the first day of a three-day national mourning period for those who were killed during the weeks of protests in the country.

The Interior Ministry building was attacked last week, forcing former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Hundreds of Tunisians also performed the Friday prayers earlier in the day - a practice banned by the Ben Ali regime.

The caretaker cabinet has issued a blanket amnesty to all political groups previously banned, including the Islamic opposition, PressTV reported.

It has also been announced that schools and universities, which have been closed since last week, will reopen on Monday.

Ben Ali's 23-year dictatorship, which was marred by repeated human rights violations and torture, ended earlier this month after weeks of street protests.

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