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Continued: Tunisia assassination spells trouble for Islamist-led government, say analysts

  • Article by: BOUAZZA BEN BOUAZZA , Associated Press
  • Last update: July 26, 2013 - 6:10 PM

"The demands of the opposition are not realistic or responsible ... they want to throw the country into a deeper crisis and take it into the unknown with disastrous consequences," he told The Associated Press. "The only solution is dialogue and consensus among all the parties and find compromises on our differences and finish the transition period with elections as soon as possible."

The opposition, as well as the main labor union that called the general strike, have shown little interest in dialogue. Among Friday's disruptions, flights and public transportation were cancelled.

Instead several groups and political parties announced the formation of a National Salvation Front to hold protests until the resignation of the government.

The number of people protesting in central Tunis and in front of the assembly was modest given the summer heat and the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

However, Brahmi's funeral on Saturday is expected to attract thousands.

A pro-government demonstration briefly marched down central Tunis' Bourguiba Avenue, the main site of the protests that brought down dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. Echoing supporters of the Islamist government in Egypt that was overthrown by a coup earlier in July, the protesters hailed the "legitimacy" of the government in the aftermath of elections.

Unlike their counterparts in Egypt, however, Tunisia's Islamists have consistently shown a willingness to compromise with the country's powerful secular forces, including on key matters like keeping reference to Islamic law out of the constitution.

Political analyst Allani said in the wake of the latest assassination that Ennahda needs to make serious compromises in light of the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt.

"This time the facts have changed and the regional events oblige it to make concessions or lose its credibility and open the way for new tensions in society," he said.

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Schemm reported from Rabat, Morocco.

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