Tunisia's newly nominated prime minister presents government

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) " Tunisia's newly nominated prime minister has announced that his government will include members of the previous administration in key posts.

Youssef Chahed said Saturday that he was keeping seven ministers of the former government, including Farhat Horchani at defense, Hedi Mejdoub at interior and Khemaies Jhinaoui at foreign affairs.

Chahed told reporters this choice was inspired by recent "successes" in the security field and the fight against terrorism. Tunisia suffered two major jihadi attacks last year " at a beach resort and at the well-known Bardo Museum " that killed around 60 people.

The new governmental team of 26 senior ministers and 14 junior ministers includes eight women " up from three previously. Among them is Lamia Zribi, a 55-year-old state bank director, who becomes the new finance minister.

Five members of the government are under the age of 35.

Chahed, 41, was minister for local affairs in the government of Habib Essid that fell last month. His government still needs approval from parliament, a green light he is likely to get in coming days.

Five parties support Chahed, including the two largest " his own Nida Tounes, founded by the president, and the Islamist Ennahda " which together hold a comfortable majority in parliament.

When nominated by President Beji Caid Essebsi earlier this month, Chahed said his priority is the war on terrorism, along with fighting corruption and increasing growth to create jobs.

The North African nation faces inflation, a high unemployment rate and a slump in tourism due to security issues.

Chahed held consultations for over two weeks with representatives of the main political parties, unions and employers organizations and members of the civil society.

Following the presentation of the list of ministers, Chahed called "all political parties and unions to take their responsibilities, support this government and put the country's interest ahead of any consideration."

"All the Tunisians are expecting from us, we have no right to let them down," he said.

Chahed came to politics after the revolution that toppled long-time autocratic leader President Zine El Abiding Ben Ali in 2011. His ouster inspired the Arab Spring.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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