Tunisian opposition demands gov’t quit
TUNIS - ReutersTunisia’s secular opposition said Aug. 23 that the governing Islamists must quit power before they would join negotiations to resolve the country’s worst crisis since its Arab Spring revolt, declaring otherwise the talks would be a waste of time.
Opposition leaders said an agreement in principle by the Islamist party Ennahda on Aug. 22 to start talks soon with the mediation of the country’s powerful UGTT trade union federation was only a government attempt to buy time. Commentators said Ennahda’s apparent concessions this week kindled hope that Tunisia might find a consensus.
However, as rival parties squabbled over the UGTT offer to mediate, opposition groups went ahead with plans for a large rally on Aug. 24 outside the country’s constituent assembly in Tunis to pressure the government to quit. “Any negotiation without the immediate dissolution of the government would be a waste of time,” Taieb Baccouche, secretary general of the main opposition party Nida Tounes, said.