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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More