Ben Ali''s interim successor sworn in

Tunis, Jan 15 (AFP) Tunisia''s ousted president Zine ElAbidine Ben Ali was officially swept aside today and speakerof parliament Foued Mebazaa sworn in as his interim successor.

The Constitutional Council declared the head of statehad "definitively" left power and appointed Mebazaa actingpresident under the constitution in a communique published bythe official news agency TAP.

Mebazaa took the oath in his office in parliament,swearing to respect the constitution in the presence of hisSenate counterpart Abdallal Kallel and representatives of bothhouses.

The council made its ruling at the request of PrimeMinister Mohammed Ghannouchi under article 57 of theconstitution, which requires new parliamentary electionswithin 60 days.

Ben Ali signed a decree handing Ghannouchi interimpresidential powers before flying out of Tunis Friday torefuge in Saudi Arabia. But his nomination under article 56 ofthe constitution had still left open the door to Ben Ali''sreturn. (AFP)

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