Tunisia's new government sworn in

2014-01-29 18:19
Tunisian president of the newly appointed electoral body Mohamed Chafik Sarsar at a transfer of power ceremony in Tunis. (Fethi Belaid, AFP)

Tunisian president of the newly appointed electoral body Mohamed Chafik Sarsar at a transfer of power ceremony in Tunis. (Fethi Belaid, AFP)

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Tunis - Tunisia's new technocratic government headed by Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa was sworn in on Wednesday, replacing an Islamist-led administration under an accord to end political turmoil and prepare for fresh elections.

The formal transfer of power took place at the presidential palace after a marathon overnight parliamentary session in which 149 of the country's 193 lawmakers finally approved Jomaa's line-up.

The new ministers took the oath of office in front of President Moncef Marzouki at a ceremony also attended by members of the former cabinet.

Outgoing premier Ali Larayedh and Jomaa met earlier in the day to discuss government policies and pressing issues facing Tunisia three years after the revolution that toppled long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Larayedh and Jomaa, who served as industry minister in the outgoing government, highlighted "the difficulties to overcome in achieving fair and transparent elections" due later this year, the government said in a statement.

The formation of a new government comes after weeks of horse-trading and is the cornerstone of a roadmap to end a political crisis that has plagued Tunisia since the assassination of two opposition MPs in 2013.

The dominant Islamist party Ennahda agreed to relinquish power under the hard-fought political accord reached late last year.

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