Students demonstrate, some carrying posters reading "RCD get out", in Tunis, Thursday Jan. 27, 2011. A government official says Tunisia's prime minister is expected to announce the country's second interim government since the ouster of the former dictator. Protesters are demanding that the new government not include members of the Ben Ali's party, the RCD. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi) (AP)

Tunisia's foreign minister resigns amid protests

Kamel Morjane steps down before announcing second interim government since ousted former president


Associated Press
January 27, 2011 11:26PM (UTC)

Tunisia's foreign minister announced his resignation Thursday, state media reported, as authorities sought to quell unrest by street protesters who want to oust other cronies of deposed former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The TAP news agency announcement about Foreign Minister Kamel Morjane came as the prime minister was expected to reveal the makeup of Tunisia's second interim government since Ben Ali fled the North African country on Jan. 14 after weeks of protests.

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Protesters have complained bitterly about corruption, repression and the lack of jobs under Ben Ali's rule.

Morjane was quoted by TAP as saying he was resigning "in the interest of Tunisia" to help ensure that Tunisia's "popular revolution" could lead to greater freedom. Like Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, he had served under Ben Ali but remained in power amid the government's promised transition to democracy.

The caretaker government includes some former opposition leaders, but many top posts were retained by Ben Ali cronies. Demonstrators want those old-guard lawmakers out. Ghannouchi has been trying to replace five ministers who resigned shortly after his caretaker government was formed.

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