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Resignations set back new Tunisia regime

TUNIS, Tunisia, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Tunisia's prime minister said Tuesday his new government wasn't sullied by the previous regime despite the protests of demonstrators and opposition leaders.

At least five ministers from opposition parties resigned from the government Tuesday amid continuing protests in the streets following the ouster of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

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Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, who also is being pressed to resign, said in a radio interview that the ministers who stayed on after Ben Ali stepped down "have clean hands and great competence," The New York Times reported.

The Times said Ghannouchi's reassurances did not appear to be having much impact on the crowds in the streets. Marchers in front of Tunisia's largest opposition party Tuesday demanded the party pull out of the fledgling unity government.

Some of the marchers told the Times representatives of communist and Islamic factions need to be incorporated in any new government rather than being excluded.

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