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Tunisia’s Ennahda party has ‘reservations' about new cabinet line-up

Ennahda's reservations will not prevent it from giving vote of confidence to cabinet line-up
Tunisia's premier-designate Youssef Chahed arrives at news conference (AFP)

Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party, the largest in parliament, said on Sunday it has "some reservations" about the line-up of the country's new unity government announced the previous day, but it will not seek to block it.

"We have some observations and reservations to pass on to the head of the government-designate," Abdelkarim Harouni, head of the party's top body the Shura Council, told reporters.

The council met for several hours on Sunday after premier-designate Youssef Chahed unveiled his unity government on Saturday, pledging to work to try to resolve deep social and economic crises that plague Tunisia five years after the Arab Spring revolt.

If his cabinet is confirmed by parliament, Chahed, 40, would become the youngest Tunisian prime minister since the North African country won independence from France in 1956.

The previous premier, Habib Essid, during his nearly two years in office failed to overcome political infighting and carry out reforms including public spending cuts and improvements to laws to attract foreign investment, Reuters reported.

Harouni said: "We will not accept any suspicion of corruption, nor any person who would seek to exclude Ennahda or any other party."

He added that Ennahda's reservations would not prevent it from giving the line-up a vote of confidence, noting that the Shura Council had ratified the level of the party's participation in government.

"We will not go as far as to block the government," Harouni said, adding that the Ennahda parliamentary group "will announce its precise position later" on the confidence vote.

Two Ennahda ministers figure in the proposed cabinet, as opposed to one previously. 

Parliament will on Monday set a date for the vote of confidence in the new government.