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Former PM declines offer to head Tunisia's new coalition government, his party says

Tunisia's moderate Islamist Ennahda Party says the former prime minister and secretary-general of the party has declined the offer to head a new coalition government.

In a statement carried Thursday by the state news agency, Ennahda said Hamadi Jebali does not want to head the new government being formed following his resignation.

The TAP news agency quoted Ennahda spokesman Nejib Gharbi as saying four other candidates from the party, all ministers in the old government, have been shortlisted by the party.

Tunisia was plunged into crisis following the assassination of a leftist politician on Feb. 6. Jebali offered to form an apolitical government of technocrats to run the country until new elections.

His initiative, while accepted by the opposition, was rejected by his own party, prompting his resignation Tuesday.