West lauds Tunisia's new government

March 14, 2013 at 12:36 PM
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ANKARA, Turkey, March 14 (UPI) -- Western leaders relayed statements of congratulation to the new Tunisian government, formed days after a protester died from self-immolation.

The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed a new government in Tunisia formed under the leadership of Prime Minister Ali Larayedh.

"It is our firm belief that all political actors in Tunisia will maintain the culture of reconciliation and tolerance in the forthcoming period, and eventually finalize a new Constitution in the spirit of dialogue and cooperation and hold the general elections as well," a statement from Turkey read.

Larayedh received majority backing for his new government but stressed it would only serve until elections later this year. Hamadi Jebali resigned as prime minister when he couldn't form a consensus government in the wake of the February assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the new leadership, saying the new government needed to make a concerted effort to bring about political reforms.

"Announcing a fixed election date will provide clarity about the direction of Tunisia's democratic transition and will help stabilize the political, security, and economic situation," he said in a statement.

Tunisia has struggled to make enduring political gains since the Jasmine Revolution unseated long-time leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago. The revolution was sparked by a protest suicide in late 2010.

The BBC reports that 27-year-old vendor Adel Khedhri died after setting himself on fire Tuesday.

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