More talks needed on shape of Tunisian government before vote


TUNIS, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Tunisia's designated prime minister will hold more talks on forming a government, the presidential office said, delaying parliament's vote on the new cabinet that had been expected on Thursday.

Prime Minister-designate Habib Jemli submitted his proposed cabinet list to President Kais Saied almost three months after an election that produced a deeply fractured parliament, complicating the process of coalition building.

He said on Wednesday he expected the government, composed entirely of political independents, to be put to a vote in parliament on Thursday and said the main parties would back it.

The president's office said late on Wednesday that "there was a decision to continue the consultations". It did not elaborate.

The moderate Islamist Ennahda, which came first in October's election with 52 of the 217 seats and proposed Jemli as prime minister, has asked the prime minister-designate to "develop his proposal".

Jemli said his government would focus on the economy, a subject that has bedevilled all administrations in Tunisia since its 2011 revolution that introduced democracy.

The outgoing government has made painful cuts to reduce the public deficit, but the International Monetary Fund and other foreign lenders are seeking more fiscal reforms.

(Reporting By Mohamed Argoubi and Angus McDowall)

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