News / Middle East

Tunisia Ruling Party Leader Calls for Non-Partisan Cabinet

Then-Tunisian PM Hamadi Jebali arriving for a round of consultations with other political parties at the Carthage Palace in Tunis, February 15, 2013 file photo. Then-Tunisian PM Hamadi Jebali arriving for a round of consultations with other political parties at the Carthage Palace in Tunis, February 15, 2013 file photo.
x
Then-Tunisian PM Hamadi Jebali arriving for a round of consultations with other political parties at the Carthage Palace in Tunis, February 15, 2013 file photo.
Then-Tunisian PM Hamadi Jebali arriving for a round of consultations with other political parties at the Carthage Palace in Tunis, February 15, 2013 file photo.
Reuters
The secretary-general of Tunisia's ruling Islamist party said on Wednesday he favored a non-partisan cabinet in what may be a significant concession to the secular opposition after weeks of anti-government unrest.

Tens of thousands rallied on Tuesday in downtown Tunis in an escalation of protests since the July 25 assassination of opposition figure Mohammad Brahmi, the second such killing this year. Radical Islamists were blamed for both attacks.

“We need to form a non-political government to lead the country to elections within six months,” said Hamadi Jebali, the second-ranking leader in the moderate Islamist Ennahda party.

The opposition is angry about the two assassinations and has been emboldened by the Egyptian military's removal of President Mohamed Morsi last month after mass protests against his perceived attempts to entrench Islamist control of the state.

Jebali's gesture appeared to depart from Ennahda's standing rejection of opposition demands for the dismissal of Prime Minister Ali Larayedh. But the final word rests with party chairman Rached Ghannouchi, who has not commented.

Jebali also called for the Constituent Assembly to complete its drafting of a constitution and electoral law in a few weeks to help defuse Tunisia's worst political crisis since secular autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ali fell to a popular uprising in 2011.

The instability has worsened as jihadi militants step up attacks. Ghannouchi was due on Wednesday to meet Hussein Abassi, the head of Tunisia's powerful UGTT union federation which has good relations with opposition parties, to discuss ways to end the political crisis. It would be the second such meeting this week.

Hamma Hammami, a senior figure in the Salvation Front, which groups more than 10 secular opposition parties, said the opposition would only negotiate with Ennahda after the dissolution of the Islamist-led government.

New constitution

The Salvation Front called in a statement on Wednesday for a campaign to dismiss all Islamist governors appointed by the Ennahda-led government, and said it would continue to mobilize efforts to topple the country's Islamist rulers.

Ghannouchi told Reuters in interview last week that his party was open to dialog with secular opponents but that removing Prime Minister Ali Larayedh was out of the question.

The opposition wants to void the transitional parliament that has been drafting a new constitution and electoral law, fearing that it will cement Islamist domination in a country traditionally one of the most secular in the Arab world.

Secularists aim to announce an alternative “salvation government” next week, suggesting little prospect of compromise.

The head of the transitional parliament, a member of a secular party in the unsteady government coalition, suspended the legislature a week ago in protest at a lack of meaningful talks between Ennahda and the opposition.

Unlike in Egypt, where the army helped protestors oust President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Tunisia's armed forces do not have a large, lucrative stake in the economy and have not traditionally intervened in politics. Few observers expect Tunisia's military to step in to resolve the current crisis.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid