• All Share : 47981.24
    DOWN -0.26%
    Top 40 : 3825.02
    DOWN -0.49%
    Financial 15 : 14190.70
    DOWN -0.08%
    Industrial 25 : 57496.80
    DOWN -0.42%

  • ZAR/USD : 10.9893
    UP 0.15%
    ZAR/GBP : 17.6291
    UP 0.23%
    ZAR/EUR : 13.8961
    UP 0.12%
    ZAR/JPY : 0.1016
    UP 0.18%
    ZAR/AUD : 9.6460
    UP 0.40%

  • Gold : 1232.2950
    UP 0.02%
    Platinum : 1256.5000
    UP 0.12%
    Silver : 17.2300
    UP 0.31%
    Palladium : 783.5000
    UP 0.84%
    Brent Crude Oil : 86.020
    DOWN -0.93%

  • All data is delayed by 15 min. Data supplied by I-Net Bridge
    Hover cursor over this ticker to pause.

Fri Oct 24 12:20:44 SAST 2014

Tunisia political talks to resume, despite Islamist resistance

Sapa-AFP | 18 February, 2013 11:06
A woman stands next to a poster of assassinated leftist politician Chokri Belaid during a demonstration, calling for Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and his cabinet to step down, at the National Constituent Assembly in Tunis.
Image by: ANIS MILI / REUTERS

Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali is set to resume talks with political party leaders to form a new government of technocrats.

This is despite strong opposition within his own ruling Islamist party Ennahda.

On the eve of the talks with Tunisian media urged political groups to reach a consensus for tackling the crisis that has gripped the country since the February 6 assassination of leftist opposition leader and vocal anti-Islamist Chokri Belaid.

However Ennahda party chief Rached Ghannouchi has strongly reiterated his party's refusal to relinquish power in line with an initiative proposed by Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, the party's number two, to form a government of technocrats.

"Ennahda... will never give up power, as long as it benefits from the confidence of the people and the legitimacy of the ballot," Ghannouchi told thousands of supporters who rallied Saturday in Tunis against Jebali's plan.

Belaid's murder came after months of failure by the ruling coalition to overhaul the government, and sparked bloody clashes between opposition supporters and police, as well as attacks on Ennahda offices.

Jebali has threatened to resign if he fails to secure the support he needs to form his new government.

After meeting the leaders of the main parties on Friday, Jebali said talks on the new administration had been rescheduled for Monday and that a previous Saturday deadline for its formation had been cancelled, with no new date set.

Tunisian media on Sunday expressed deep concern over the ongoing uncertainty.

"There are huge fears that this initiative, which has the backing of most of the opposition and the public, will be buried tomorrow, plunging Tunisia into a new cycle of conflict and political wrangling," said Le Temps daily.

"We do not see how Jebali can reverse the tide and alter the position of his party and its allies," the newspaper said.

La Presse said that "good intentions must be followed by concrete actions and a shared desire to make concessions," referring to Jebali's cautious optimism about the rescheduled talks.

The Arabic-language Essabah said political consensus was a "national necessity."

"The nature of the crisis and its possible impact necessitates a break with partisan policies in order to seek a consensus," it said.

Since an uprising toppled the regime of former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali two years ago, Tunisia has been rocked by violent attacks, blamed on Salafist Muslim extremists, and social unrest over dire living conditions.

Ennahda, which was repressed under Ben Ali, won the October 2011 polls and controls the key foreign, interior and justice ministries in the coalition cabinet, as well as 89 seats in the 271-strong National Constituent Assembly.

But it is divided between moderates, among whom Jebali is the most prominent, and hardliners, represented by Ghannouchi, who are refusing to give up the key portfolios, insisting on the party's electoral legitimacy.

The family of Belaid has accused Ennahda of orchestrating his killing, which enflamed simmering tensions between liberals and Islamists in the once proudly secular Muslim nation.

SHARE YOUR OPINION

If you have an opinion you would like to share on this article, please send us an e-mail to the Times LIVE iLIVE team. In the mean time, click here to view the Times LIVE iLIVE section.