Ennahda rejects move to fire govt



Reuters

Published — Friday 8 February 2013

Last update 8 February 2013 1:06 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

TUNIS: Tunisia’s governing party rejected yesterday a plan by its chief and prime minister to dismiss the government after the shooting of a leading critic, whose death sparked the biggest street protests since a revolution two years ago.
Prime Minister Hamdi Jebali of Ennahda announced late on Wednesday he would replace the government led by his party with a non-partisan Cabinet until elections could be held as soon as possible.
But a senior Ennahda official said Jebali had not consulted the party, suggesting the group was deeply divided over the move to replace the governing coalition and that could prolong the political crisis.
“The prime minister did not ask the opinion of his party,” said Abdelhamid Jelassi, Ennahda’s vice-president.
“We in Ennahda believe Tunisia needs a political government now. We will continue discussions with other parties about forming a coalition government,” he said.
The North African state’s main opposition parties also rejected any move to form a government of experts and demanded they be consulted before any new cabinet is formed.
Jebali announced he was dissolving the government on Wednesday after leading secular opposition politician Chokri Belaid was gunned down outside his home in Tunis, sending protesters onto the streets across the country.
A crowd in Tunis set fire to the headquarters of Ennahda, which won the most seats in legislative elections 16 months ago.
Protests also spread to Sidi Bouzid, the birthplace of the Jasmine Revolution that toppled President Zine Al-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. Although Belaid had only a modest political following, his sharp criticism of Ennahda policies spoke for many Tunisians who fear that religious radicals are stifling freedoms won in the first of the Arab Spring uprisings.
The opposition Nida Touns, Republican, Popular Front and Massar parties demanded that Jebali — who planned to stay on as caretaker prime minister — talk to them before making any move to dissolve his Cabinet. “The situation has changed now ... Consultations with all parties are essential,” said Maya Jribi, head of the secular Republican party.
“All the government, including the prime minister, should resign,” added Beji Caid Essebsi, a former prime minister who heads the secular Nida Touns.
Political analyst Salem Labyed said the opposition appeared to want to leverage the crisis to its own advantage and that prolonged political uncertainty could kindle more unrest. “It seems that the opposition wants to secure the maximum possible political gains ..., but the fear is that the country’s crisis will deepen if things remain unclear at the political level.
“That could increase the anger of supporters of the secular opposition, which may go back to the streets again,” he said.
Police yesterday deployed in force in Tunis amid fears the murder could reignite nationwide violence. Most of the forces were deployed in Habib Bourguiba Avenue, epicenter of the 2011 uprising that toppled ex-dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Despite the police presence, around 300 protesters marched down the avenue chanting, “The people want the fall of the regime.” Police did not immediately react.
Shops reopened in center of the city, but many of them kept their shutters down to protect their windows.
While opposition parties and unions refrained from calling people onto the streets yesterday, spontaneous protests that erupted in a dozen towns and cities the previous day served as a reminder that social upheaval remains a real threat.
This was emphasized when protesters clashed early yesterday with police in the central town of Gafsa, throwing petrol bombs at the police, who fired large quantities of tear gas to disperse them.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The $22-billion Riyadh Metro project is going on according to the plan despite the fact that many global projects are faltering.“There are many stalled projects all over the world and not in the Kingdom alone, but the metro project in the Sau...
JEDDAH: Four members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) were stabbed by a youth who was allegedly trying to blackmail a girl in Jeddah. The incident happened on Tuesday night and the four officers, who sus...
RIYADH: A recent report released by the Ministry of Labor revealed that the number of violations registered on the ministry’s electronic program “Together for Monitoring” in the months of December 2015 and January 2016 amounted to 484, of which 157 w...
RIYADH: Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih visited the medical complex in Thuwal, near Jeddah, on Tuesday. The facility was set up by Saudi Aramco, whose chairman is the health minister himself.According to the minister, the complex provides primary hea...
JEDDAH: A number of Shoura Council members have voiced objections to some imams who express their personal opinions during Friday sermons.The members asked the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to supervise the sermons to make sure they were written by spe...
MADINAH: Street vendors near the Prophet’s Mosque pose a risk to the country’s reputation and economy besides blocking the way of service cars, Red Crescent and Civil Defense vehicles, an expert has said.Ninety-eight percent of these street merchants...
RIYADH: Appropriate action has been taken against the Haia members who were involved in beating up a girl opposite the Nakheel shopping mall here recently, but the girl was also at fault, a Haia official has clarified.“A probe has revealed that the g...
I am from the east of France but moved to Saudi Arabia from Paris in 1990. I worked for a princess as a French language tutor. I was young and single. I thought it was very exotic and mysterious. I lived in a palace. I left Saudi Arabia in 1992 and c...
JEDDAH: The Pakistan Repatriation Council (PRC) held a symposium on Kashmir and the obligation of Muslim world toward Kashmiris.It was presided by Ali Al-Ghamdi, a former Saudi diplomat. Other guests and speakers at the event were Shahid Nayeem, pres...
DAMMAM: A total of 627 kidney transplant surgeries were performed in the Kingdom last year, bringing the number of kidney transplants, performed since the beginning of the organ donation program, to 9,000 surgeries, said Dr. Faisal Shaheen, director...
ABHA: Saudi women spend more on cosmetics compared to women in the West, the Arab world and even in the Gulf, economic studies show.Recent statistics issued by the Saudi Customs suggest the amount of imported cosmetics in the past year exceeded SR2.3...
RIYADH: A study is under way to provide health insurance to Umrah pilgrims and domestic workers and certain articles of the health regulations needs to be amended, an official has said.According to local media, the statement was made by Mohammed bin...
JEDDAH: The government last year helped over 2,000 children overcome circumstances that forced them to beg or work illegally. The number of children who got help to overcome was 2,039 last year, of which the proportion of the Saudi children was 16 pe...
RIYADH: The number of visitors to the United Kingdom from Saudi Arabia has been steadily increasing from 89,000 in 2009 to 144,000 in 2014.This was revealed at a presentation made to mark the launch of “Visit Britain” program in Riyadh on Wednesday....
NAJRAN: Three members of the Saudi National Guard died in Rabuah, Najran, on Wednesday.National Guard spokesman Maj. Mohammed Omari identified them as Lt. Faisal bin Abdullah Al-Shehri, Lt. Faisal bin Talal Al-Toub and Lt. Saud bin Khaled Al-Rukhayye...

Stay Connected

Facebook