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Tunisia's Ruling Islamists Agree to Resign Amid Turmoil

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Tunisia's ruling Islamist party has agreed to resign after talks with opposition parties that are due to begin in a few days.

The negotiations aim to end weeks of turmoil involving the Islamist-led coalition government and secular opposition parties. The disputes have threatened to derail Tunisia's transition to democracy, following decades of dictatorship.

Tunisia's powerful UGTT labor union, mediating between the two sides, says the ruling Islamist Ennahda party has agreed to three weeks of negotiations. The party will then step down and make way for an independent transitional administration. Elections will follow.

Ennahda won a 2011 election for a transitional Constituent Assembly following the ouster of longtime President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in a popular uprising earlier that year.

But the Ennahda-led government has faced mass protests this year by secular opposition groups folowing the assassination of two political figures. Prominent opposition politician Chokri Belaid was killed in February, and the July 25 shooting in Tunis of lawmaker Mohamed Brahmi intensified the protests.

The opposition has accused Ennahda of trying to impose an Islamist agenda on one of the Muslim world's must secular countries.

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