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article imageOp-Ed: Moderate Islamist coalition Tunisian government agrees to resign

By Ken Hanly     Sep 28, 2013 in Politics
Tunis - The Islamist-led government of Tunisia has agreed with opposition demands that it resign paving the way for talks with opponents that will begin next week. The government announced the decision as a way of solving the ongoing political crisis in Tunisia.
The decision of the ruling coalition led by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party to resign is a decisive breakthrough in a crisis that has been ongoing for weeks. There have been continuing protests since the earlier killing of two opposition politicians in separate incidents. While the opposition often blames the government, evidence is that the two killings in February of Chokri Belaid and Mohammed Brahmi in July, were the result of more radical Salafists rather than the government. However, the opposition complains that the government seems unable to keep control over more radical Islamists. and is also imposing an Islamist agenda on the secular country. Under longtime former leader Zine Ben Ali, Tunisia was one of the most secular in the Arab world. Many of the elite are very much opposed even to the moderate Islamists. The opposition was encouraged by the overthrow of Morsi in Egypt even though the armed forces have remained out of the conflict. Tunisia was the birth place of the Arab Spring.
Unlike Egypt, so far the armed forces seem not to be involved in the political process. The mediation between Ennahda and the secular opposition is by the large and powerful General Union of Workers UGTT labor union. The union urged both sides to set a date for talks next week to form a caretaker government. The Ennahda party has agreed to three weeks of talks. After the talks, the coalition will hand power over to an independent transition leadership and set a date for parliamentary and presidential elections. The talks could begin as early as this Monday.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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