Tunisian PM appoints independents to key posts in new government, hoping to calm tensions

Tunisian politicians have formed a new government that they hope will defuse the country's deepest political crisis since it overthrew a decades-long dictatorship and inspired similar uprisings across the Middle East.

The killing of an opposition leader last month set off the crisis and led to violent protests against the Islamist-led government. Some have criticized the ruling party of not doing enough to rein in extremist violence.

Ali Larayedh, the former interior minister tapped to be the new prime minister, announced the government Friday. It will include independent politicians in the key posts of the Interior, Foreign, Defense and Justice Ministries — a concession aimed at calming tensions ahead of elections later this year.

Tunisia's transition to democracy is being closely watched since its revolution sparked the Arab Spring uprisings.