News / Middle East

    Tunisia Islamists Set for Planned Resignations

    Tunisia's Constituent Assembly President Mustafa Ben Jaafar, center, intiaites vote on country's constitution drafts, Tunis, Jan. 3, 2014.
    Tunisia's Constituent Assembly President Mustafa Ben Jaafar, center, intiaites vote on country's constitution drafts, Tunis, Jan. 3, 2014.
    Reuters
    Tunisia's ruling Islamists are preparing to resign in the next few days to make way for a caretaker cabinet once government and opposition parties agree on the makeup of an electoral commission, mediators said on Tuesday.
     
    Three years after its uprising ousted veteran autocratic president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia is in the final stages of its transition to full democracy after months of deadlock between Islamist and secular parties.
     
    Late last year, after a political crisis erupted, the ruling Islamist party Ennahda agreed to hand over power to a caretaker government once a new constitution was complete, an election committee named and a date for elections set.
     
    Tunisia's national assembly last week began voting on the final parts of the new constitution, and parties on Tuesday were working out disagreements over composition of the election commission to oversee a vote later this year.
     
    Mediators led by the powerful UGTT labor union said on Tuesday Prime Minister Ali Larayedh has expressed his readiness to step down once there is agreement on the nine members of the election commission.
     
    “If parties reach an agreement, handover would come in the next two days,” said Bou Ali Mbarki, deputy leader of the UGTT.
     
    Tunisian parties have already named a new transitional prime minister, Mehdi Jomaa, an engineer and former minister who will appoint a non-political cabinet to rule until elections later this year.
     
    Political battle
     
    The uneasy compromise between Ennahda and the secular opposition in Tunisia's transition contrasts with instability affecting Libya, Egypt and Yemen, who also ousted leaders in the 2011 Arab Spring.
     
    Tunisia, one of the most secular nations in the Arab world, slid into a stalemate after the assassination of two secular politicians by Islamist militants last year, widening divisions over the role of Islam.
     
    With Ennahda and leading opposition party Nidaa Tounes positioning themselves as key contenders in upcoming elections, the selection of the electoral committee is seen as a key political battle before setting a date for the ballot.
     
    The electoral commission will organize and fix dates for the coming legislative and presidential elections, and will also draw up electoral districts and set electorate lists.
     
    Ennahda and its opponents have agreed to try to finish the transition and handover to Jomaa's caretaker government by Jan. 14, the third anniversary of the uprising that inspired other countries to rise up against long-standing rulers.
     
    “All parties are pushing to get members close to them in that election commission,” said Abdessattar Ben Moussa, another negotiator. “It is not easy to get a compromise, but we are confident. An agreement will come in the next two days.”

    You May Like

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora