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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid