The Tunisian government is in upheaval after weeks of violent protests over high unemployment and skyrocketing food prices. Al-Jazeera reported that the prime minister had taken the reins of government after President Ben Ali left the country. –JCL

Al-Jazeera English:

Tunisia’s long-standing president has left the country amid violent protests and the prime minister has taken over control of the government.

“Since the president [Zine El Abidine Ben Ali] is temporarily unable to exercise his duties, it has been decided that the prime minister will exercise temporarily the [presidential] duties,” Mohammed Ghannouchi, the Tunisian prime minister, said on state television.

Ghannouchi is now the interim president. He cited chapter 56 of the Tunisian constitution as the article by which he was assuming power.

Maltese air traffic controllers have told Al Jazeera that Ben Ali is bound for Paris, though the Maltese government has denied any knowledge of Ben Ali’s plane having stopped in Malta after having left Tunis.

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