Feb 06 2013
Tunisia’s prime minister has said that he will dissolve the Islamist-led government and form a national unity administration, following the killing of prominent secular opposition leader Shokri Belaid in front of his home.
Hamadi Jebali announced during a speech to the nation on Wednesday that he will form a cabinet of technocrats to run the country until elections are held.
“After the failure of negotiations between parties on a cabinet reshuffle, I decided to form a small technocrat government,” Jebali said.
He said the ministers would not run for office but elections would subsequently be held as soon as possible.
An official source told Reuters news agency earlier on that Jebali’s decision was a personal one taken in the interests of the country.
Belaid, leader of the left-leaning Democratic Patriots party, was killed on Wednesday as he was leaving his home.
He was transported to a hospital in the suburbs of Tunis where he died of his wounds, his brother confirmed.
Following news of Belaid’s death, violence and protests broke out on the streets of Tunis.
Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Janabi in Tunis reported violent clashes between Belaid’s supporters and police along the main Habib Borguiba Avenue, with the police using tear gas and batons to disperse the protesters and making numerous arrests.
Earlier, crowds of mourners, chanting “the people want the fall of the regime”, crowded around an ambulance carrying Belaid’s body.
As the protests intensified, four Tunisian opposition groups, including the Popular Front, of which the Democratic Patriots is a component, announced they were pulling out of the national assembly and called for a general strike.