[QODLink]
Africa

Tunisia deal to bring end to Islamist rule

Political rivals agree on timetable for ruling coalition to quit and be replaced by government of independents.

Last Modified: 06 Oct 2013 08:06
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Tunisia's political rivals have agreed on a timetable for the Islamist-led ruling coalition to quit and be replaced by a government of independents.

The Islamist Ennahda party and opposition groups in the country signed a roadmap aimed at creating a new government within three weeks.

Saturday's deal, signed in the presence of politicians and media, was brokered to end a simmering two-month crisis sparked by the assassination in July of opposition MP Mohamed Brahmi.

The document, drawn up by four mediators, foresees the nomination of an independent prime minister by the end of next week, who would then have two weeks to form a cabinet.

It says that after the first day of national dialogue, "the government will resign with a delay not exceeding three weeks".

Abdelhamid Jlassi, one of the leaders of Ennahda, , told AFP news agency the national dialogue is not expected to start on Monday, however.

"First there will be preparatory meetings, and the date of the government's resignation will not be determined until the start of the real national dialogue," he said.

"Ennahda's signature today is a major concession made in the interests of the country," he added.

By signing the roadmap, the Ennahda-led coalition, which has been rocked by the murder of two political opponents, economic woes and prolonged political disputes, has agreed to step down two years after winning a general election.

Its victory at the polls on October 23, 2011, was the first free vote in Tunisian history, and followed the overthrow of long-ruling strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in the first revolt of the Arab Spring.

The roadmap also foresees, within the next four weeks and after a national dialogue across the political spectrum, the adoption of a constitution and a timetable for elections.

Mistrust

"I want to thank you for joining this dialogue because you are opening the door of hope for Tunisians," said Houcine Abassi, whose UGTT trade union confederation was the lead mediator behind the roadmap, at Saturday's ceremony.

Delegates at the Palais des Congres said the launch of the hard-won dialogue with a symbolic ceremony had earlier been jeopardised by a last-minute dispute.

The UGTT said Ennahda had initially refused to formally sign the text that underlines the timetable of the national dialogue.

The two sides are still divided over issues including the date of elections, the role of a special assembly finishing a draft of a new constitution and composition of an electoral body to oversee the vote.

412

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
In Vietnam, 40 percent of all pregnancies are terminated each year, a rate that health officials are hoping to reduce.
Ivory Coast tackles internet fraud scourge, but analysts say criminals continue to outsmart authorities.
In US study, MIT scientists changed the emotions linked to specific memories in mice.
The seizure of the Tabqa airbase highlights the Islamic State's consolidation of power in eastern Syria, analysts say.
Traditional spring festival blossoms outside India through fun runs, raves and TV commercials.
join our mailing list