BANGUI Central African Republic President Francois Bozize named a new prime minister from the ranks of the opposition on Thursday in line with a peace accord signed with rebels last week.
Nicolas Tiangaye, a lawyer and leader of the Republican Convention for Social Progress, had been nominated by the Seleka rebel movement following peace talks in Gabon's capital Libreville.
"The president of the republic, head of state decrees...(that) Nicolas Tiangaye is named prime minister, head of government," stated the presidential order confirming the appointment read on state radio.
The Seleka rebel alliance swept to within striking distance of the capital Bangui last month, threatening to end Bozize's decade-long rule over the mineral-rich former French colony and forcing him to negotiate.
Under the deal, Bozize agreed to appoint a new prime minister chosen by the rebels and political opposition.
Tiangaye will now pick ministers for a national unity government to usher the country to a parliamentary election within 12 months to replace the current National Assembly dominated by Bozize's allies.
In exchange, the rebels declared a ceasefire and agreed that Bozize would complete his current term in office, which ends in 2016.
"I am motivated by the concern to keep hope for the future of Central African Republic and to work in favor of peace," Tiangaye told Reuters shortly after his appointment.
Selena, a coalition of five separate rebel groups, launched its insurgency in early December, accusing Bozize of reneging on a 2007 peace deal that promised to provide jobs and money to insurgents who laid down their weapons.
(Reporting by Paul-Marin Ngoupana; Writing by Joe Bavier; editing by Ron Askew)