Tunisia, which is grappling with a political crisis and violence attributed to armed groups, has said it is extending by eight months a state of emergency in place since the 2011 uprising.
The presidency made the announcement on Sunday and said the state of emergency would be extended until the end of June 2014.
Tunisia’s authorities have renewed the state of emergency by periods ranging from three months to a year since the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Late on Saturday, Tunisia’s ruling party, Ennahda, and the opposition failed to reach an agreement on appointing a new prime minister, with both sides pledging to continue negotiations.
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 Ennahda-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.
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 currency and a steep budget deficit of about 7.4 percent of gross domestic product.