Tunisian prime minister pledges to quit politics

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 22, 2011 00:31

TUNIS, Tunisia — Tunisia's prime minister pledged Friday to quit politics after elections that he says will be held as soon as possible, amid protests by citizens still angry at officials linked to their deposed president's regime.

Mohamed Ghannouchi said in an interview on Tunisian television Friday he will leave power after a transition phase leading to legislative and presidential elections "in the shortest possible timeframe."

Protesters have been demanding for days the departure of all remnants of the old guard under ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Ghannouchi was an ally of Ben Ali and has been struggling to restore calm under a new multiparty government.

"My role is to bring my country out of this temporary phase and even if I am nominated I will refuse it and leave politics," Ghannouchi said.


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