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Tunisia forms new government amidst protests

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Tunisia forms new government amidst protests

2011-01-18 10:17:48 GMT+7 (ICT)

TUNIS, TUNISIA (BNO NEWS) -- Tunisian interim leadership on Monday announced the formation of a new government as protests continued in the capital Tunis, France24 news reported.

The new government of national unity includes members of the opposition as announced by Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi. In addition, established political figures were included too in a desperate attempt to bring back political stability in the North African country.

The crisis in Tunisia escalated after the ouster of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. The Prime Minister remarked that foreign, interior and defense ministers under Ben Ali will continue in their posts.

Meanwhile, also on Monday, police forces had to use water cannons and shot bullets into the air in order to control and disperse protesters in Tunis' streets. The demonstrations increased after reports surfaced indicating that the family of President Ben Ali has fled Tunisia with 1.5 tons of gold.

The formation of a new government was considered a key movement in order to establishing order and filling the power vacuum in the North African nation as it was in the balance after the dismissal of the previous regime by Ben Ali.

"A period of six months was agreed upon so that constitutional and legislative reforms could be carried out, to pave the way for a neutral election, with a neutral electoral committee and international observers," said Najib Chebbi, a prominent opposition figure, as cited by France24.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Tunisia is enduring a significant transition. Clinton also condemned the violence and urged restraint on all sides.

Protests over economic issues resulted in violent riots between police forces and Tunisian citizens. Despite promises made this week by Ben Ali, he was forced to resign. The former Tunisian leader had in a final act promised to lower prices on food as well as freedom of press.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-01-18

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