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Tunisian President Says Parliament to Vote on Government

Tunisian Prime minister designate Habib Jemli speaks during a news conference in Tunis, Jan. 1, 2020.

Tunisian President Kais Saied has approved a proposed new government made up of political independents and given it to parliament to vote on, his office said on Thursday.

Designated prime minister Habib Jemli has named a former finance ministry official, Abderrahmen Khachtali, as finance minister and Tunisia's ambassador to Jordan, Khaled Shili, as foreign minister.

Jemli said in a televised statement that his proposed cabinet had majority support in the deeply fractured parliament elected nearly three months ago.

The proposed new government also includes Imed Darouiche as defense minister, Soufiene Sliti as interior minister and Hedi Kediri as justice minister. The existing tourism minister, Rene Trabelsi, would stay in his post.

Saied's office had said late on Wednesday that more consultations were needed for the new government.

A vote in parliament will be scheduled by the speaker, Rached Ghannouchi, head of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, which came first in the Oct. 6 election with 52 of the 217 seats and nominated Jemli as prime minister.

Jemli said his government would focus on the economy, a subject that has bedeviled all administrations in Tunisia since its 2011 revolution that introduced democracy.

The outgoing government has made painful cuts to reduce the public deficit, but the International Monetary Fund and other foreign lenders are seeking more fiscal reforms.