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Tunisia PM resigns as part of transition plan – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Tunisia PM resigns as part of transition plan – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

Larayedh’s exit comes as Tunisia’s national assembly works on approving a new constitution [Reuters]
Tunisia’s prime minister has resigned, in line with an agreement aiming to end months of political deadlock in the country.

Ali Larayedh, of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party, announced on Thursday that he had handed his resignation to President Moncef Marzouki.

“As I promised to a short while ago … I have just submitted the government’s resignation,” Larayedh said.

His resignation comes as part of a blueprint to put the democratic transition in Tunisia back on track after the assassination of Mohamed Brahmi, an opposition MP, last year.

Under the plan, Larayedh is set to be replaced within 15 days by Mehdi Jomaa, the prime minister- designate, at the head of a government of technocrats that will lead the country to fresh elections.

“The president will appoint the new Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa shortly, and he will present his new cabinet in the next few days,” Larayedh said.

“I hope the country will be a model for democratic transition.”

Mounting pressure

Ennahda has been under mounting pressure to relinquish power after it was elected in 2011 following a popular uprising that deposed long-time President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Tunisia’s national assembly is in the process of approving a new constitution, and elections for a new government are due to be held later this year.

An independent authority was established on Wednesday to oversee the upcoming elections, a requirement that Ennahda had set as a condition for stepping down.

The approval of a new constitution, which Ennahda had also demanded in exchange for handing over power, is on track to meet an agreed deadline of January 14, the Tunisian uprising’s three-year anniversary.

The new charter had been delayed for months by the withdrawal of opposition assembly members in protest at Brahmi’s killing in July.

Recent steps towards political reconciliation come against a backdrop of increased social unrest across the country, however.

Central Tunisia in particular, where a young street vendor touched off the 2011 uprising by setting himself on fire in protest at his impoverished daily life, has seen a number of protests in recent days.

Kasserine clashes

A new vehicle tax, which came into force this year, has also prompted nationwide protests with demonstrators blocking major highways.

Several hundred protesters attacked a tax office, a police post, a bank and a municipal building on Wednesday in the town of Feriana, in the central Kasserine region, according to AFP news agency.

Al Jazeera’s Youssef Gaigi, reporting on Thursday from the capital Tunis, said: “There were protests in different parts of the country because of new taxes imposed by the government.

“Tunisia is going through difficulties in terms of the economy. And most of [the] rural areas where the revolution has started initially, three years ago, did not see much development. And that’s what they want now. They want jobs.”

Growth was less than three percent last year across Tunisia, and the country’s unemployment rate exceeds 30 percent among people who haven’t finished school.

Protest erupts in Tunisia amid discontent – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Protest erupts in Tunisia amid discontent – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

Clashes have erupted in central Tunisia between police and demonstrators as instability continues to plague the North African country.Dozens of protesters tried on Wednesday to force their way into the offices of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda in the town of Kasserine, but were pushed away by tear gas fired by police, an AFP journalist reported.

Central Tunisia has long suffered from neglect and a lack of opportunity, which were driving factors behind the popular uprising that began in nearby Sidi Bouzid in 2011, when a young street vendor set himself on fire in protest at his impoverished circumstances.

It was on Wednesday exactly three years ago that the first protester was killed in Kasserine during the uprising in the Arab Spring’s birthplace that toppled the long-time ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Kasserine is one of the poorest regions of Tunisia and was a hotbed of unrest during the revolt.

In the village of Thala, which lies in the Kasserine region and had already witnessed clashes on Tuesday evening, protesters attacked a police post, partially burning it and driving away the security forces, witnesses said.

Shops and public offices remained closed in Kasserine as hundreds protested in the streets on Wednesday. They shouted slogans such as “The people want the fall of the regime”, the rallying cry of the Arab Spring.

A policeman was injured during the clashes after he was hit by a tear gas canister fired at him by one of his colleagues.

Al Jazeera’s Youssef Gaigi, reporting from Tunis on Wednesday, said conditions had not improved since the 2011 mass protests.

“People continue to pay a very high price for the revolution. Unemployment is high and conditions have worsened,” he said.

The better living conditions sought by many young Tunisians have failed to materialise, resulting in discontent over new taxes and government shortcomings.

Anger has been growing of late over proposed 2014 budget, which is critics say will negatively affect the middle and working classes through increases in taxes and cuts in subsidies.

Ukraine On The Edge: The 7 Minute Video Summary | Zero Hedge

Ukraine On The Edge: The 7 Minute Video Summary | Zero Hedge.

The following seven minutes of mayhem look eerily reminiscent of the violent pre-ambles to the middle-east’s recent coups or non-coups. As anti-government protesters demonstrated against the shunning of a European trade agreement (President Yanukovych – “I will not allow any serious economic losses and decline of living standards”); the clashes became ever more violent as the police cracked down. Following heavyweight boxing champion (and opposition leader) Vitali Klitschko’s call for a new government – “our main task is Yanukovych’s resignation. But the first step is the resignation of Azarov’s government” – the clashes left at least 265 people injured. The crackdown followed Interior Minister comments that they “won’t allow Ukraine to become another Libya or Tunisia, where uprisings toppled governments in recent years.” Of course, the main difference is the Ukraine is now squarely under Putin’s sphere of influence.

 

0:20 Initial fireworks followed by police flash-bangs and tear gas…

1:45 Some standard police beatings

3:00 Ubiquitous projectile exchange

3:30 Police charge…

4:30 Serious police beatings handed out

5:30 The two fronts stare each other down

6:00 Serious police reinforcements

 

 

Tunisia suspends constitution body – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Tunisia suspends constitution body – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

 

Bradley Manning: Whistleblower or traitor? – Inside Story – Al Jazeera English

Bradley Manning: Whistleblower or traitor? – Inside Story – Al Jazeera English.

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