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Published: Tuesday, 1/18/2011

Tunisian union says ministers withdraw from govt

REUTERS

TUNIS — The Tunisian labor union said on Tuesday its three ministers would withdraw from a national unity government announced this week.

Abid al-Briki told Tunisian state television the decision was taken because of the continued presence of former leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's RCD party in government.

“This is in response to the demands of people on the streets,” Briki said.

The ministers, who were given junior positions in the cabinet, are Houssine Dimassi, nominated for the training and employment portfolio, and two ministers of state, Abdeljelil Bedoui and Anouar Ben Gueddour.

Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced a new government on Monday that included several familiar faces from the government of the ousted president, and three opposition leaders.

The prime minister, along with the ministers for defense, foreign affairs, internal affairs and finance, are unchanged. Many are members of the ruling RCD party, Ben Ali's power base for the 23 years of his rule.

Tunisian police used teargas earlier on Tuesday to break up a protest in the capital against the interim cabinet. Protesters carried banners saying “down with the RCD”.

Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia last week after weeks of unprecedented popular protests against poverty, corruption and political repression in the North African country of 10 million.



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