News / Middle East

Tunisia's Ruling Islamists Accept Plan to Step Down

People demonstrate against Tunisia's Islamist-led government, Constituent Assembly headquarters in Tunis, Sept. 7, 2013.
People demonstrate against Tunisia's Islamist-led government, Constituent Assembly headquarters in Tunis, Sept. 7, 2013.
Reuters
Tunisia's Islamist-led government on Saturday agreed to resign after negotiations that could start next week with secular opponents to form a caretaker administration and prepare for new elections.
    
The talks aim to end weeks of crisis involving the Islamist-led coalition government and secular opposition parties that threatened to derail the transition to democracy in the North African country where the Arab Spring uprisings began in 2011.
    
Tunisia's powerful UGTT labor union, mediating between the two sides, proposed the ruling Islamist Ennahda party agree to three weeks of negotiations, after which it would step down and make way for an independent transitional administration and set a date for parliamentary and presidential elections.
    
"The dialogue will start on Monday or Tuesday," Lotfi Zitoun, an Ennahda party official, said. "Ennahda has accepted the plan without conditions to get the country out of the political crisis."
    
The UGTT confirmed the agreement and called on both sides to set a time to begin talks next week.
    
Since autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted in 2011 after street protests against his rule, Tunisia has struggled with divisions over the political role of Islam. The opposition accuses Ennahda of imposing an Islamist agenda on one of the Muslim world's most secular nations.
    
Tunisia's path to transition, however, has been mostly peaceful compared to Egypt, where the army toppled an elected Islamist president, and Libya, where the central government is struggling to curb rival militia influence.
    
The political crisis erupted in July after the killing of an opposition leader by suspected Islamist militants, bringing the opposition on to the streets to demand Ennahda step down.
    
After weeks of political deadlock, the talks could struggle to get past differences over a final draft of the new constitution, an electoral law to guarantee a transparent vote and a date for the elections.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
September 28, 2013 10:30 PM
The Arab Spring is continuing in Tunisia and Egypt with the Moslem parties in retreat and secular forces taking control of the government. If the Libyan government is able to control the militias, there is ray of hope for democracy and secularism to survive and get rooted in Arab lands.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs