Tunisia presidency has 'no information' on new govt

The Tunisian presidency said on Thursday that it had no information about a government of non-partisan technocrats that Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali said would be formed, after his own party rejected the move.

"The president has not received the resignation of the prime minister nor the details of the cabinet of technocrats announced by the prime minister," presidency spokesman Adnene Manser told reporters.

"The presidency of the republic wishes to say that all changes to the ruling power must take place within the framework of the law represented by the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), which remains the primary source of power."

Jebali, who hails from the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, said on Wednesday evening that he would form a new administration of non-political technocrats, but Ennadha's parliamentary leader said his bloc of MPs rejected the idea.

Jebali made the televised announcement in the wake of public outrage over the killing of prominent opposition figure Chokri Belaid, and has not made any comments since on the planned reshuffle, or the division within his party.

Ennahda dominates the national assembly, which must approve any government reshuffle, holding 89 out the 217 seats. It heads Tunisia's ruling coalition in alliance with two secular parties, including the Congress for the Republic of President Moncef Marzouki.

Ennahda's allies, as well as opposition parties and civil society groups, have largely welcomed the proposed formation of a new government, but the proposal has laid bare deep divisions within the Islamist party.

"The president of the republic is favourable to the formation of a government of national consensus that includes technocrats running the economy and technology ministries," Manser said.

"Talks are taking place with the heads of the opposition and President Marzouki, who should receive the prime minister" later Thursday, he added.