Tunisia faces strikes and protests

Fitch said it could further downgrade Tunisia if political instability continues or worsens.

Tunisia faces strikes and protests

World Bulletin / News Desk

Tunisia's political crisis may continue on Friday after strikes and protests planned around the funeral of assassinated opposition politician Chokri Belaid.

No one has claimed responsibility for the killing of Belaid, a lawyer and secular political figure, who was shot by a gunman as he left home for work on Wednesday.

But a crowd set fire to the headquarters of Ennahda, the Islamist party of Prime Minister Jebali, who leads a coalition with two junior secularist parties. Ennahda rejected any accusation.

Belaid's killing on Wednesday has brought thousands of people onto the streets of the capital Tunis and other cities in violence-marred protests.

Unions have called a general strike for Friday, setting the stage for further confrontation two years on from the pro-democracy revolution that inspired the Arab Spring.

In response to Belaid's assassination, Prime Minister Hamdi Jebali, an Islamist, said on Wednesday he would dissolve the government, name a non-partisan cabinet of technocrats and hold early elections. But his partners opposed the move and it is yet yet to be approved by parliament.

All three ruling parties and sections of the opposition rebuffed Jebali's plan to create a small, technocrat government to take over day-to-day matters until elections could be held, demanding they be consulted before any such move.

The economic effect of political uncertainty and street unrest could be serious in a country which has yet to draft a post-revolutionary constitution and which relies heavily on the tourist trade.

The cost of insuring Tunisian government bonds against default rose to its highest level in more than four years on Thursday and ratings agency Fitch said it could further downgrade Tunisia if political instability continues or worsens.

Last Mod: 08 Şubat 2013, 14:58
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