Tunisia lawmakers approve landmark government

Tunisia's parliament on Thursday approved a coalition government led by the secular Nidaa Tounes party and including its Islamist rivals, following landmark elections in the birthplace of the Arab Spring.

AFP| Updated: Feb 05, 2015, 22:49 PM IST

Tunis: Tunisia's parliament on Thursday approved a coalition government led by the secular Nidaa Tounes party and including its Islamist rivals, following landmark elections in the birthplace of the Arab Spring.

Out of 204 MPs who attended, 166 voted in favour, 30 against and eight abstained, after Prime Minister Habib Essid withdrew an earlier list which had excluded moderate Islamists Ennahda.

It is the first government to be formed after the North African country's first free presidential and parliamentary elections last year.

Parliament speaker Mohamed Ennaceur welcomed what he called "a comfortable majority" in the vote of confidence.

"The motto of this government will be work, then work ... and nothing other than work," pledged Essid, an independent.

Nidaa Tounes, the winner of parliamentary elections last October, holds six portfolios, including the foreign ministry, while the interior, defence and justice portfolios go to independents.

Ennahda takes the labour ministry and three secretary of state posts.