An eclectic mix in Tunisia's transitional government
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On 17 January, Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi named a new interim unity government in Tunisia. The 19 ministers include six members of ex-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s cabinet, three opposition leaders and 10 independents. Below are details on some of the key figures named in the transitional administration.
- Prime Minister: Made a member of cabinet when Ben Ali came to power in 1987, 69-year-old Mohammed Ghannouchi served as minister for finance and minister for international cooperation and investment. He was appointed Prime Minister in November 1999.
- Foreign Minister: Another member of Ben Ali’s Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) to stay in government, Kamal Morjane has been reappointed to his previous role.
- Interior Minister: Originally appointed last week as Ben Ali tried to appease the protest movement, Ahmed Friaa will retain his role in the new administration
- Finance Minister Mohamed Jegham and Defence Minister Ridha Grira are two other key RCD members that stay in their posts.
Key opposition leaders and independents appointed to government:
- Health Minister: A doctor by profession, 70-year-old Mustafa Ben Jaafar is secretary-general of the Democratic Forum for Work and Liberties.
- Education Minister: A 65-year-old retired French teacher, Ahmad Ibrahim is secretary-general of Ettajdid, a leftist movement that grew out of the Communist Party.
- Minister of Local Development: The founder of the biggest legalised opposition party, the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), 66-year-old lawyer Nejib Chebbi went on hunger strike in the past to protest against Ben Ali’s regime.
- Two women have been appointed to the cabinet. Moufida Tlatli will be the Culture Minister and Lilia Labidi will become Minister for Women’s Affairs.
- Slim Amamou, a pro-democracy blogger who was arrested during the protests, has been appointed Secretary of State for Sport and Youth.
Other main appointments:
- Minister of Justice: Lazhar Karoui Chebbi
- Minister for Religious Affairs: Larbi Mizouri
- Minister of Education: Taieb Baccouche
- Minister for Social Affairs: Moncer Rouissi
- Minister for Agriculture and Environment: Habib M’barek
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