Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tunisia : Financial muddle after the departure of the government and talks postponed

Posted on 23-10-2013 at 17h31 - Updated 24-10-2013 at 08h25
Tunisian police and illegal armed combatants were killed Wednesday in clashes in the region of Sidi Bouzid ( center -west), told AFP from police and hospital sources. ( c) AFP

Tunis (AFP) - The start of the "national dialogue" supposed to come out of Tunisia a deep political crisis was postponed from Wednesday to Friday , the Islamist Prime Minister's commitment to " the principle " of a resignation of the government have been considered " ambiguous " by the opposition.

Meanwhile, the country was once again overshadowed Wednesday by fighting with an armed group who killed six policemen , while a growing jihadist movement continues to destabilize the country. A policeman was also killed in the north of the country , in circumstances that have not yet been cleared , according to the Ministry of the Interior.

The "national dialogue" to end the crisis was supposed to start on Wednesday after a government commitment to resign. But the words in the sense of the Prime Minister , Islamist Ali Larayedh were considered ambiguous by the opposition so that the negotiations have not started .

" We will conduct more consultations with the Prime Minister for more clarification on his speech today (Wednesday). We agreed that the national dialogue will begin Friday at 10:00 ," said Houcine Abassi , General Secretary union UGTT , the main mediator of the political crisis after a meeting with various political actors.

Mr. Larayedh said in the early evening , with nearly five hours late , his " commitment to the principle of giving the government as part of the complementarity of the different phases of the roadmap " national dialogue.

" We will not submit to anyone," he added , with only forward " the interest of the country ."

For his part , President Moncef Marzouki has made ​​similar assurances on television , noting that Mr. Larayedh " would not return to the principle of resignation as the National Constituent Assembly agreed to appoint an independent electoral commission (.. . ) and ended the Constitution. "

But the opposition has found to be inadequate about , claiming that the government is committed from within three weeks after the start of negotiations.

" The statement of the head of government was ambiguous (...) we can not enter into the national dialogue ," said Jilani Hammami, representative of the Workers Party .

The roadmap drawn by four mediators UGTT provides a new independent Prime Minister is designated by the entire political class a week after the beginning of the dialogue and a cabinet of technocrats to be formed within two weeks which follow. The government is expected to resign at the end of this process.

But alongside the opposition Ennahda and must agree on the content of the new Constitution, the development is down, write an electoral law , form the body responsible for organizing the elections and set the agenda for the next elections.

Wednesday , several thousand opposition activists demonstrated in central Tunis to demand the departure of Ennahda . In the evening , they were still tens place of the Kasbah, the seat of government , some are even erecting a tent to spend the night.

" In the process of defeating terrorism "

On the security front , six policemen and an armed fighter were killed in clashes with a "terrorist" group in the region of Sidi Bouzid ( center -west ) , confirmed Mr. Larayedh , adding that Tunisian forces, " chased " the other attackers .

" The Tunisian government is trying to defeat terrorism (...) despite the sacrifices," he was assured.

A three-day national mourning was declared and the UGTT called for a general strike Thursday in the region of Sidi Bouzid.

However, the new fighting could further complicate the position of Islamist Ennahda and its allies accused by the opposition to have been lax vis-à- vis the jihadist movement who were awarded the assassinations of MP Mohamed Brahmi in July and between Chokri Belaïd in February.

Last week already , two policemen were killed in the Beja region , 70 km from Tunis. If the government then announced the death of nine "terrorists" in a military operation, these battles have also triggered a revolt within the police .

Dozens of activists from police unions drove the President and the Prime Minister a ceremony in memory of the killed policemen .

Tunisia , the birthplace of the Arab Spring , has no more sustainable institutions for almost three years due to lack of consensus on the future Constitution.