Ennahda to cede key Tunisian ministries

Updated 01 March 2013
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Ennahda to cede key Tunisian ministries

TUNIS: Tunisia’s ruling Ennahda party will allow independent figures to take over the most important ministries in the next government, its leader said yesterday.
“We confirm the neutralization of the four departments of sovereignty, including the Interior Ministry, which will not be under political parties,” Rached Ghannouchi said.
President Moncef Marzouki on Friday asked Interior Minister Ali Larayedh to form a government within 15 days, following the resignation of Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali.
He quit after his own Ennahda party rejected his plan for a technocratic Cabinet, excluding political parties, to prepare for elections later this year and calm unrest ignited by the assassination of politician Chokri Belaid on Feb. 6.
Opposition parties had argued that putting independents in charge of the interior, foreign affairs, justice and defense ministries would improve the political climate and reduce tensions between government and opposition before the vote.
Ghannouchi told Reuters in an interview this month that Ennahda was ready to negotiate on all the “sovereign” ministries, three of which it held in the outgoing government. An independent, Abdelkarim Zbidi, was defence minister. Abdelhamid Jelassi, vice-president of Ennahda, said the Finance Ministry, now headed by Elyess Fakhfakh of the Ettakatol party, would also go to an independent.
A source close to talks on the next Cabinet said this would be Slim Besbes, now a junior minister in the Finance Ministry.
Other sources said Central Bank governor Chadli Ayari and Zbidi, the defense minister, would keep their posts in a government they said would be announced this week.

Ennahda is the biggest single party in the National Constituent Assembly, with 89 of its 217 seats. It has governed since December 2011 with two junior coalition partners.


Palestinian President Abbas hospitalized: Palestinian official

Updated 20 May 2018
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Palestinian President Abbas hospitalized: Palestinian official

RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been hospitalized in the West Bank due to complications after minor surgery last week, a Palestinian official said on Sunday.
It was the third time Abbas, 82, had been hospitalized in a week. He underwent minor ear surgery on Tuesday and was hospitalized again briefly overnight on Saturday/Sunday, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa said.
A Palestinian official in Ramallah said Abbas went back into hospital again later on Sunday because his temperature was high “so doctors advised that he go back into hospital.”
Two statements were issued by Wafa on Sunday. The first, half an hour after midnight, said Abbas had gone into hospital “for a checkup to review the surgery that he had in his middle ear a few days ago at Al-Istishari hospital in Ramallah. At the end of the tests, the results turned out to be excellent,” the statement said, and Abbas left hospital.
A second statement carried by Wafa on Sunday afternoon reported the medical manager of Al-Istishari hospital, Dr. Saed Sarahneh, said the results of the medical tests were “good” and that his medical condition was “reassuring.”
A Palestinian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the high temperature may have resulted from a failure of an ear inflammation to heal completely.
In February, Abbas was hospitalized in the United States for medical checks during a trip to address the UN Security Council in New York.
Abbas became Palestinian president after the death in 2004 of Yasser Arafat. He pursued US-led peace talks with Israel but the negotiations broke down in 2014.
He is also chairman of the executive committee of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organization, a position to which he was re-elected unopposed on May 4.