Tunisia unveils new cabinet in a bid to end unrest
Tunisia on Thursday unveiled major changes to its interim government in a bid to put an end to daily protests against figures linked to ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who stayed on in key posts.
Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, who also served under Ben Ali, said on state television that he would remain but the crucial defence, foreign and interior ministry posts were replaced with new figures.
"This is a temporary government with a clear mission -- to allow a transition to democracy. Its mission is to organise elections in which the people will be completely free to choose," Ghannouchi said in his address.
"The situation is difficult and we must concentrate our efforts for the country to re-start... I hope everyone will get back to work," he said, after a wave of protests that came in the wake of Ben Ali's downfall on January 14.
Hundreds of protesters who have camped out in front of Ghannouchi's offices for five days applauded and shouted with joy when they heard the news, but some of them still called for the resignation of Ghannouchi himself.
Foreign Minister Kamel Morjane announced his resignation saying he was leaving "so that the popular revolution can bear fruit." He will be replaced by career diplomat Ahmed Ounais, a former ambassador to Moscow and New Delhi.
The UGTT, which played a key role in anti-Ben Ali protests and has led opposition to the current government, said Thursday it would not be joining the new government line-up but approved of Ghannouchi staying in power.
Ghannouchi has served as prime minister since 1999 and has said he would resign only after the country holds its first democratic elections.