Tunisia's ruling Islamist party has chosen its hardline interior minister to form the North African nation's new government, a top official said Friday.
Ali Larayedh, who has been widely criticized by the opposition for failing to ensure stability in Tunisia, hails from Ennahda Party's hardline wing. His nomination is expected make the task of finding consensus and building a coalition with Tunisia's other political parties more difficult.
The party chose Larayedh in an overnight meeting and he will be presented to President Moncef Marzouki later Friday, Moadh Ghannouchi, the son of Ennahda's leader, said.
Tunisia was plunged into a political crisis after the assassination of a leftist politician two weeks ago. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali resigned after his own party rejected his proposal to form an apolitical government of technocrats.
The split between the party and Jebali was seen as a deep disagreement between the party's hardline and moderate wings.
Larayedh also announced late Thursday the arrest of several suspects in the assassination of opposition lawyer Chokri Belaid, saying "rapid progress" had been made in the investigation.
He gave few details, however, and could not confirm whether those arrested were the suspected killers or say who was behind the assassination.
Belaid was shot four times outside his home on Feb. 6, provoking days of unrest as many Tunisians held the government responsible for his death.