News / Africa

New Cabinet Vote Set Amid Tunisia Unrest

Political unrest gripped Tunisia following the February 6 assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid. (VOA)
Political unrest gripped Tunisia following the February 6 assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid. (VOA)
Tunisia continues to grapple with political uncertainty since last month's assassination of leftist leader Chokri Belaid, which brought down the government of Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali.

Belaid was gunned down outside his home on February 6 and protests continue on the streets of Tunis ahead of Tuesday's parliament vote on a new cabinet line-up.

Some of the protesters outside the interior ministry are convinced that the Islamist Ennahda party, which has been ruling the country in coalition with two smaller secular center-left parties, is in some ways responsible for the slaying.

“After the death of our comrade Chokri Belaid, we say the assassination of our comrade," said one protester. "We believe that the government killed Chokri Belaid.”

Ennahda leaders deny any involvement in the killing and the security services have arrested several militant Islamists, known as Salafists, in connection with the slaying, although government officials say the actual assassin is still at large.

Belaid’s murder plunged Tunisia into its worst political crisis since the Arab Spring ouster of autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali more than two years ago .

To calm the crisis after Jebali's government was brought down, his Ennahda successor announced  a new cabinet on Friday, handing over key ministries to independent figures.

The cabinet reshuffle, which has Ennahda yielding control of the ministries of justice, interior and foreign affairs, will likely be approved by the national assembly on Tuesday.  

But Ennahda’s failure to persuade other opposition parties to join the governing coalition highlights the political divisions complicating Tunisia’s transition to democracy.

Most opposition leaders accept that Ennahda itself did not have a hand in Belaid’s slaying. But they accuse Ennahda of ignoring Salafist threats against the leftist leader’s life and they believe the party is fanning violence, says leftist politician Adman Besheer.  

“The government had no role in the assassination," Besheer says. "But the government is responsible for the violence that is spreading all over the country and from this point the government is politically responsible, letting preachers in mosques and in certain religious parts preaching violence and in this matter the government is really responsible.”

Distrust of Ennahda remains high, says university professor Jelel Ezzine. “Ennahda, even though it tried, did succeed to some extent to convince the West that it is really a moderate democratic Islamist movement, what is really going on in Tunisia today does not really go along with that image.”

Tuesday's vote on the new cabinet lineup is unlikely to calm the fears of Ennahda opponents, but the concessions at least hold out the possibility that Tunisia’s political crisis may ease, if only temporarily.

You May Like

Photogallery Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had earlier warned storm could be one of worst the city has ever faced More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid