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Leading Tunisian political forces agree on keeping interim gov't in place

(Xinhua)

14:45, December 06, 2011

TUNIS, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Tunisia's interim government will be kept in place until the formation of a new cabinet by the newly elected Constituent Assembly, the state-run press agency TAP reported Monday.

The decision was made during a meeting between the country's interim president, Fouad Mebazaa, and the speaker of the Constituent Assembly, Mustapha Ben Jaafar.

The meeting which was attended by the interim Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi, chairman of the Congress for the Republic Moncef Marzouki, and Ennahdha's Secretary General Hamadi Jebali, also focused on the need to provide an optimal framework for power transfer, TAP said.

More than a month after its election, the 217-member Constituent Assembly has been criticized for bickering over power attributions in the forthcoming government, instead of focusing on its main tasks of drafting a new constitution and addressing unemployment.

For the past week, thousands of protestors rallied in front of the Constituent Assembly in the capital Tunis, calling for better employment.

Clashes have also erupted between secularists and pro-Ennahdha supporters, fueled by the recent storming of a university near Tunis by a group of Salafists who are still occupying the university's administration offices.

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