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Larayedh is Tunisia's new prime minister

Feb. 22, 2013 at 5:16 PM

TUNIS, Tunisia, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Tunisian Interior Minister Ali Larayedh was chosen as the country's new prime minister and asked by the president to form a new government within two weeks.

A spokesman for embattled President Moncef Marzouki told a news conference Friday Larayedh was nominated by his Ennahda Party leader Rached Ghannouchi, and will replace Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, who resigned last week.

Ennahda is the largest party in Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly, with 89 of the legislative body's 217 seats, the Middle Eastern news agency SyndiGate.com said.

The appointment of Larayedh, regarded as a hard-liner, is likely to anger liberal Tunisians, some of whom accuse him of failing to curb violence by Islamists against advocates of secularism, including journalists and artists but credit him with firm action against Islamist militants with ties to al-Qaida, SyndiGate said.

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