Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

‘Mexico will not finance US wall,’ foreign minister says

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

African nations need to prepare for potential return of thousands of jihadists

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

DR Congo former child soldiers awarded $10 mn in damages in landmark ruling

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Website roots out "Rotten Apples"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Putin's press conference, Alabama election, One Planet Summit, Brexit Phase II, Disney & Fox

Read more

#TECH 24

WorldRemit: Helping migrant workers send money back home

Read more

FOCUS

The challenges awaiting the new leader of South Africa's ANC

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Bangladeshi PM calls violence in Myanmar 'unacceptable'

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Was 2017 the worst year for the environment?

Read more

Africa

Ben Ali fires government, calls early elections

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-14

Tunisia's President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has dissolved the country's government and called for early parliamentary elections to be held within the next six months. The move follows weeks of deadly protests across the country.

AFP - Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali sacked the government and called early elections in six months, the prime minister announced Friday as weeks of deadly unrest mounted with new clashes.

Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, quoted by the official TAP news agency, said Ben Ali had decided "to dismiss the government and call early elections in six months".

The prime minister said he had been tasked with forming a new government.

He said the dismissal of the government was part of a host of measures decided by Ben Ali to calm the mounting unrest. The president also announced late Thursday that he would not seek another term after 2014.

Despite his concessions, thousands of demonstrators across Tunisia demanded Friday that Ben Ali step down immediately, with police firing volleys of tear gas to break up a huge rally in the centre of the capital.

Tunisian Foreign Minister Kamel Morjane said meanwhile that a national unity government would be feasible and "totally normal" for the country.

Speaking on French radio station Europe 1 Friday, Morjane made a significant nod towards Mohammed Nejib Chebbi, leader of the opposition Progressive Democratic Party, which is legal but not represented in parliament.

"Given the conduct of people like Mr. Nejib Chebbi, I think it is feasible, even totally normal" to have a power-sharing deal, Morjane said. He gave no further details of who he thought might take part.

A Paris-based rights group has said the weeks of unrest have left 66 people dead since mid-December, with security forces opening fire on protesters. The toll is about three times higher than one issued by the government.

Ben Ali's televised address on Thursday evening was well received by rival political groups in Tunisia, where he has held power for 23 years and the organised opposition is weak.

He also pledged to liberalise the political system and ordered security forces not to fire on crowds of protesters.

Date created : 2011-01-14

COMMENT(S)