(MENAFN - Arab News) Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki tasked Interior Minister Ali Larayedh yesterday with forming a new government after Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali resigned amid a major political crisis.
Marzouki "wished Larayedh success and will hand him this evening the letter officially appointing him" as Jebali's successor, his spokesman Adnene Mancer said.
Larayedh "will have 15 days to form a new government and present its plan to the head of state," Mancer said, adding that Marzouki urged him to do so "as quickly as possible because the country cannot wait any longer."
The ruling party Ennahda had put forward the name of Larayedh, 57, after its Shoura Council selected him overnight.
Ennahda, which was already leading a coalition, has promised to build as broadly based a government as possible. And with its 89 MPs, it should have no difficulty getting the 109 votes needed for a majority.
Larayedh, who was imprisoned and tortured under the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, has been interior minister since the dictator was ousted in 2011.
A moderate member of the party, he is seen as a man of dialogue.
Earlier yesterday, Radio Mosaique FM and Shems-FM, as well as an Ennahda source, said Larayedh had been chosen overnight by the party's Shoura Council.
The other prospective candidates were said to have been Agriculture Minister Mohamed Ben Salem, Justice Minister Noureddine Bhiri and Health Minister Abdellatif Mekki.
Larayedh, meanwhile, announced the arrest of several suspects in the assassination of a leftist politician two weeks ago that plunged the country into a political crisis.
Larayedh said that "rapid progress" had been made in the investigation into Chorki Belaid's killing.
He gave few details, however, and could not confirm whether those arrested were the suspected killers themselves or say who was behind the assassination.