Tunisia finalizes new Cabinet

March 9, 2013 at 11:39 AM

TUNIS, Tunisia, March 9 (UPI) -- The Islamist Ennahda party was among the factions represented in the Cabinet Tunisia's new prime minister said he presented to the president this weekend.

Prime Minister-designate Ali Larayedh told the BBC the Cabinet will include representatives of independents and two secular parties.

The Ennahda will remain the leading party in the coalition but it lost control of three key ministries -- defense, interior and foreign affairs. The ministries will be led by officials the BBC described as technocrats.

At the same time, three major secular opposition groups pulled out of the negotiations, which Larayedh was constitutionally obligated to wrap up this weekend.

Larayedh has been trying to keep a lid on political dissent in the North African nation since the assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid Feb. 6, the BBC said.

The new Cabinet will be in place at least until elections are conducted before the end of the year.

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