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Middle East

Tunisia PM sees government plan collapse

Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali says talks with political leaders "failed", but he does not rule out more talks or options.
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2013 21:05
Jebali has been seeking support for his plan but has faced stiff resistance from ruling party Ennahda [File: AFP]

Tunisia's Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has that his plan for a new government of technocrats has failed, but he has not said that he will stand down as yet.

Jebali made the announcement on Monday night after holding talks with political parties on the formation of a new government of technocrats, amid a standoff between the premier and his own ruling Islamist party Ennahda.

"I say in all clarity that the initiative I presented, that is to say, a government composed of members not belonging to any political parties, failed to reach a consensus."

He did not however rule out further talks of an alternative political solution.

"Another form of government" is still a possibility, he said.

The announcement on Monday was not met with much surprise as Ennahda, the biggest party in Tunisia has rejected the move.

Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra said that Ennahda may in next few days, convince some opposition parties to form a new coalition.

'Never give up' 

Ennahda chief Rached Ghannouchi has strongly reiterated his party's refusal to relinquish power in line with an initiative proposed by 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.

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

The country has been gripped by a political crisis since the February 6 assassination of opposition leader and vocal anti-Islamist Chokri Belaid.

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.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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