Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Tunisia fails again to agree on new PM

04 November 2013, 16:42

Tunis - Tunisian political leaders were to meet on Monday in a new bid to choose a prime minister after missing two deadlines to bridge their differences and resolve months of deadlock.

The powerful UGTT trade union mediating the talks said delegates from the ruling Islamist party Ennahda and the opposition were going to fail to meet a noon deadline and would convene again later in the day.

Tensions have gripped Tunisia since veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in the 2011 uprising, and were exacerbated by the murders of opposition politicians Chokri Belaid in February and Mohamed Brahmi in July.

The two sides opened hard-won talks on 25 October to form a government of independents, draft a much-delayed constitution and prepare for elections as part of a roadmap with a strict timetable.

Under the plan, a new prime minister was to have been named on Saturday, a week after the talks began, but when that failed to eventuate a new deadline was set for Monday noon.

But they were again unable to overcome their differences and fresh talks to agree on a new premier were to begin in the afternoon, the UGTT said, without specifying when an announcement could be expected.

Politicians said the negotiators have been unable to decide between two candidates: opposition-backed 79-year-old Mohamed Ennaceur, and Ahmed Mestiri, an 88-year-old supported by Ennahda and its allies.

Both are well respected and 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 for three decades from 1957.

The opposition says Mestiri is weak and would be a puppet in the hands of Ennahda.

Tensions remain high

"Ennahda wants to exit power from the front door and come back through the window," leftist leader Hamma Hammami said.

Ennahda spokesperson Ziad Laadhari retorted that Mestiri was the right man because "he strikes a balance between the two sides".

The opposition and the government say Islamist radicals, oppressed under Ben Ali and whose influence has grown since the uprising, are behind the killings and deadly attacks targeting mostly security forces.

The opposition has demanded the government's resignation and the formation of a cabinet of independents, accusing the current line-up headed by the moderate Ennahda of failing to rein in jihadists.

After months of stalling, Ennahda opened talks with the opposition on 25 October in line with the roadmap.

Prime Minister Ali Larayedh has said he will step down so long as the timetable is respected

But some fear the repeated delays will effectively spell the end of dialogue between the two sides.

"If the much-awaited solution is not found today, should we expect the dialogue to be suspended?" the French-language daily La Presse asked on Monday.

Tensions remain high in the North African country where security was stepped up this week following two botched suicide attacks in tourist resorts, and the killing of nine policemen in October.

The government has linked Tunisia's armed jihadists to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, but says that it lacks the resources to combat them.

On Sunday the presidency ordered an eight-month extension of a state of emergency which has been renewed repeatedly since the 2011 uprising.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...