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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid