News / Africa

Assassination Prompts Tunisian Opposition to Unite, Demand Elections

Assassination Prompts Tunisian Opposition to Unitei
X
February 14, 2013 1:01 PM
A week after the assassination of Chokri Belaid, Tunisian opposition parties are uniting. They want the government to dissolve and the country to hold new elections. Belaid was a critic of the ruling Ennahda party and many opposition groups blame the party's supporters for the murder. As Henry Ridgwell reports from Tunis, the incident has shaken Tunisia's fledgling democracy.
Assassination Prompts Tunisian Opposition to Unite
Henry Ridgwell
A week after the assassination of Chokri Belaid, Tunisian opposition parties are uniting to demand that the government be dissolved and fresh elections held.  Belaid was a prominent critic of the ruling Ennahda party and many opposition groups blame its supporters for the killing.  The incident has shaken the fledgling democracy.

As the face of Chokri Belaid stares out from billboards across Tunis.  The caption above it implores the people to stand up for Tunisia.

His assassination has brought together the previously fractured opposition.

In a packed conference room in one of the capital’s big hotels, opposition activists, trade unionists and lawyers debate Tunisia’s future.

The National Congress for Salvation is one of several newly-formed coalitions that could alter the face of national politics.  The Workers’ Communist Party is among its members.  Hamma Hammami is the party spokesman.

“You ask me if the government is offering solutions?  Solutions to what?  To the violence?  To investigate the murder of Chokri Belaid?  They do nothing," Hammami said. "For the political neutrality of the mosques?  Nothing.”

The Ennahda party denies any knowledge of or involvement in the assassination.
Chokri Belaid was the leader of the Unified Democrat Patriots’ Party.  Its vice president, Mohamed Jmour, says the killing is an attack on democracy.

“These are people who do not accept the ideology of freedom, of social justice, of equality between men and women in Tunisia - values that Chokri Belaid defended," said Jmour. "They do not accept the idea of a democratic country, a non-religious democratic republic.”

Beji Caid Essebsi was interim prime minister after the revolution.  His party, Nidaa Tounes, has entered an alliance with four other parties to purportedly ‘safeguard the principles of the revolution."

“Evidently we have two different types of society in Tunisia.  We are for a Tunisian society of the 21st century," Essebsi said. "We want to close the gap with other developed countries, because we are being left behind.  The others want a Tunisia that lives in the seventh century; they want to take us backwards.”

Two years after the revolution, members of the National Constituent Assembly are still battling over the constitution.  The prime minister has called for government ministers to be replaced with non-political technocrats until elections are held.

Samir Dilou, the minister for human rights and a member of Ennahda, rejects that idea.

“Ennahda supports the idea of a government of national competencies which has the agreement of the widest political spectrum,” he said.  “This is for the highest interest of Tunisia, because we are facing important political challenges and in order to resolve them we need the largest coalition.”

For now, Tunisia’s fledgling democracy appears deadlocked.

On the streets there are fears that the political rivalries could spill over into more violence in the birthplace of the so-called Arab Spring.

You May Like

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs