News / Middle East

Tunisia's Opposition Threatens Protests After Talks Fail

An anti-government protester shouts slogans as others wave flags and signs during a demonstration at Kasbah Square where the government headquarters are located, to call for the departure of the Islamist-led ruling coalition, in Tunis, Aug. 31, 2013.
An anti-government protester shouts slogans as others wave flags and signs during a demonstration at Kasbah Square where the government headquarters are located, to call for the departure of the Islamist-led ruling coalition, in Tunis, Aug. 31, 2013.
Reuters
Tunisia's secular opposition threatened on Wednesday to launch more mass protests to force the Islamist-led government to step down, saying negotiations to end a political stand-off had failed.

Hamma Hammami, a senior leader in a coalition of more than a dozen secular opposition parties agitating for new elections, blamed the Islamist Ennahda party heading the government coalition for the collapse of two weeks of mediated talks.

The talks aimed to lead to new polls that analysts say the unpopular Ennahda would probably lose, ending Tunis's Islamist experiment without the violence seen in Egypt after the army overthrew Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi in July.

“Ennahda is responsible for the failure of the negotiations because it has shown it does not want to leave power despite the crisis that has rocked the country,” Hammami told journalists after a meeting with Hussein Abassi, head of the powerful UGTT trade union federation mediating the talks.

“The opposition will launch a major protest campaign from Saturday to force the government to step down”, he added.

Continuing crisis

Tunisia, birthplace of the Arab Spring revolts, has been in crisis since late July after the second assassination this year of a secular politician by suspected Islamist radicals prompted the opposition to demand the government quit immediately.

The million-member UGTT, the only national organization with the muscle to push the parties to a compromise, has proposed the government step aside for a caretaker cabinet to hold new polls.

But Ennahda and its two small secular coalition partners said they would only be ready to step down after a month. It had earlier announced it wanted time for a commission to finish work on drafting a new constitution.

“The coalition does not accept the humiliation that the opposition seeks to impose through an immediate resignation,” government spokesman Mouldi Riahi said.

Galvanized after Brahmi

The opposition coalition, called the Salvation Front, came together after the murder of the prominent secularist politician Mohamed Brahmi on July 25, six months after another leftist leader was gunned down.

The opposition led mass protests and the assembly writing the new constitution suspended its work, throwing the country into its worst political crisis since autocratic President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown in January 2011.

That revolution unleashed unrest across the Arab world, unseating rulers in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, and leading to a civil war in Syria.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid