Last Update 18:29
Sunday, 20 October 2019

Tunisia ruling Islamists, opposition deadlocked over PM

Dispute in Tunisia over frontrunners for PM; Mohamed Ennaceur, 79, and Ahmed Mestiri, 88, are veteran politicians and former government ministers

AFP , Saturday 2 Nov 2013
Tunisia
Tunisia protests (Photo: AP)
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1049
Share/Bookmark
Views: 1049

Tunisia's ruling Islamist party Ennahda and the opposition were deadlocked in talks Saturday to choose a new prime minister tasked with steering the country out of a months-long political crisis.

Tensions have gripped the country since the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and were exacerbated with the murder this year of two opposition politicians by suspected radical Islamists.

Ennahda, a moderate Islamist party whose resignation has been demanded by the opposition, has pledged to step down and allow the creation of a government of independents as part of a roadmap.

After months of stalling, the Islamist-led government opened talks with the opposition on October 25 to form the new government, agree on a much-delayed constitution and prepare for elections.

The roadmap to resolve the crisis was drafted by mediators including the powerful UGTT trade union, which announced the latest setback.

It said that a meeting Friday of party leaders to chose a new prime minister became bogged down over who should be appointed to the post from among four candidates.

The delegates agreed to set up a new committee tasked with overcoming the stalemate, the UGTT said in a statement overnight.

The committee is to meet on Saturday at an undisclosed time and would include the head of the National Constituent Assembly, Mustapha Ben Jaafar, Ennahda chief Rached Ghannouchi, and five opposition figures.

The dispute reportedly centres on the frontrunners to become prime minister -- Mohamed Ennaceur, 79, and Ahmed Mestiri 88, two veteran politicians and former government ministers.

Both are well respected and have served under the late Habib Bourguiba, who led the fight for Tunisia's independence from its French colonial masters and served as its first president (1957-1987).

Press reports said Ennahda and its secular coalition partner were backing Mestiri for the premiership, while the opposition was in favour of Ennaceur.

Mestiri held several key portfolios in successive governments under Bourguiba -- finance, justice, defence and interior -- while Ennaceur is an expert on social affairs.

Prominent economists Mustapha Kamel Nabli and Jalloul Ayed had earlier also been named as frontrunners.

Whoever is tapped for the position will have two weeks to form a government of independents to prepare for elections.

Larayedh has pledged to step down so long as the timetable is respected. The Assembly has until the end of November to draw up a new constitution and an electoral law.

The timetable for the negotiations has been delayed because the nomination of an electoral committee due Saturday has been postponed.

A simmering political crisis that gripped Tunisia since the 2011 uprising erupted in July when opposition MP Mohamed Brahmi was gunned down outside his house, six months after the murder of another opposition politician.

Both killings were blamed on suspected jihadists, suppressed under the regime of Ben Ali and now accused for a wave of violence that has hit the country since his ouster.

Militant Islamists have been blamed for the unrest, including a deadly attack last year on the US embassy in Tunis and ambushes targeting security forces in the rugged border region with Algeria.

On Wednesday a suicide bomber blew himself up at a beach in the popular tourist resort of Sousse, and minutes later security forces foiled another attack in nearby Monastir.

Tunisia has also been reeling from economic hardship -- a driving force behind the 2011 uprising -- with inflation running at more than six percent, a weak dinar and steep budget deficit of around 7.4 percent of gross domestic product.

Short link:

 

Email
 
Name
 
Comment's
Title
 
Comment
Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.
Latest

© 2010 Ahram Online.