Tunisia PM calls for new government of technocrats

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A man cries at the ambulance carrying the body of Chokri Belaid after he was shot to death in Tunis, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013. The Tunisian opposition leader critical of the Islamist-led government and violence by radical Muslims was shot to death Wednesday — the first political assassination in post-revolutionary Tunisia. The killing is likely to heighten tensions in the North African nation whose path from dictatorship to democracy so far has been seen as a model for the Arab world. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia's prime minister has announced the formation of a new government of technocrats to guide the country to elections later this year.

Wednesday's announcement follows the assassination of a prominent leftist politician that sparked major protests.

Premier Hamadi Jebali said the technocratic government's sole task will be to organize the elections "as soon as possible."

The ruling moderate Islamist party has been engaged in stalled negotiations over expanding its coalition to include members of the opposition.

Many blame the ruling party for Wednesday's assassination of leftist leader Chokri Belaid — allegations it denies.