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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid