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Tunisian prime minister resigns as country moves toward elections

TUNIS, Tunisia, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh, a leader of the moderate Islamist Ennahdah party, resigned Thursday.

Laarayedh said he would remain in office until a new government is in place, Tunisia Live reported.

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The prime minister's resignation is a step toward an interim government, CNN said. Ennahdah and the opposition agreed last year the government would dissolve once the new constitution was completed and an electoral commission selected.

Tunisia, the country where the Arab Spring began, is one place where the hope that accompanied the mass demonstrations of 2011 is still alive. The country has had its share of turmoil, including the assassination of two secular leaders, but has not slid into civil war like Syria or seen the return of an authoritarian government like Egypt.

The plan calls for approval of the constitution by Tuesday and the installation of a new government Wednesday, Tunisia Live reported. The nine members of the board of elections, who will oversee the next presidential and parliamentary votes, were named Wednesday.

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