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Tunisia PM designate says has formed new government

Tunisia's premier-designate Mehdi Jomaa said on Sunday he has presented the president with the list of his proposed cabinet of independents, under a roadmap aimed at ending months of political crisis.

TUNIS: Tunisia's premier-designate Mehdi Jomaa said on Sunday he has presented the president with the list of his proposed cabinet of independents, under a roadmap aimed at ending months of political crisis.

"I have submitted the list of members of the proposed government to be subjected to a confidence vote in the National Constituent Assembly," Jomaa announced, saying he hoped it would secure the vote "as quickly as possible".

Jomaa, industry minister in the outgoing Islamist-led government, called his caretaker cabinet "an extraordinary team which is aware of the challenges", adding that its "mission is not easy".

Under the roadmap agreed by Tunisia's divided factions, the lineup consists of non-political figures who will be responsible for leading the country to fresh presidential and parliamentary elections this year.

But Jomaa has chosen to keep Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou in his post, despite the demands of his critics that he step down alongside his Islamist party Ennahda.

The premier designate drew up his final list after failing to muster sufficient political consensus by Saturday's deadline, and after President Moncef Marzouki asked him on Sunday to continue his efforts.

The formation of a technocrat administration to lead Tunisia to fresh parliamentary and presidential elections is the cornerstone of an accord reached last year to end a major political crisis triggered by the assassinations of two prominent opposition politicians.

Also on Sunday, the constituent assembly was due to vote on a long-delayed new constitution, another key requirement of the political accord.

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