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Tanzania's New President Picks Junior Minister as PM

FILE - John Magufuli displays his ballot paper before casting his vote in the presidential and parliamentary election at his hometown Chato district, in Geita region, Tanzania, Oct. 25, 2015.

Tanzania's President John Magufuli on Thursday appointed a former junior minister as the country's new prime minister, with a cabinet expected to be formed in coming days.

The surprise choice of Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa, 54, who served as deputy local government minister in the previous government, is the biggest decision taken by Magufuli since he assumed office on Nov. 5.

His ruling CCM party, in power since the end of colonial rule in 1961, has been under increasing pressure to tackle rampant corruption and ensure economic growth trickles down to the poor.

The new president has already ordered restrictions on foreign travel by government officials and cuts in tax exemptions, signaling the start of fiscal belt-tightening.

Majaliwa's appointment was approved by parliament with nearly three-quarters of votes in favor.

"I pledge to work with members of parliament from all political parties," he told lawmakers. He is scheduled to be sworn in on Friday.