Tunisia poised to unveil new government

BY: Sebastian Syme

Tunisia's Prime Minister-designate, Ali Larayedh, says the line-up of a new government has been agreed following "marathon negotiations".

Mr Larayedh said the new cabinet will be presented to President Moncef Marzouki on Friday.

Tunisia has been in turmoil since the killing of opposition leader Chokri Belaid on 6 February.

It provoked mass protests and resignations from Tunisia's coalition government.

Former PM Hamadi Jebali resigned after being unable to form the neutral technocratic administration he believed was necessary after the murder of Mr Belaid.

"After marathon negotiations, we have reached an agreement on the government," Mr Larayedh said in a news conference on Thursday evening.

"We are going to give it the final touch tomorrow morning before presenting it to the president."

He added: "God willing, the next government will be the government of all Tunisians."

Mr Larayedh was tasked with forming a new government on 22 February and has until midnight on Friday to meet a constitutional deadline for doing so.

The BBC's Jim Muir says the new cabinet will contain the same political elements as the outgoing government.

Efforts to broaden the government - dominated by the Islamist party Ennahda - by drawing in other political groups failed during the current consultations, leaving Ennahda with the same two secular coalition partners.

However, the new government is expected to see Ennahda members who held key ministries replaced by independents, our correspondent adds.

Chokri Belaid was shot dead outside his home in the capital, Tunis.

His death was the first political assassination in Tunisia since the Arab Spring uprising in 2011.

Four people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the killing.