Tunisia’s Tamarod Collects 1.6 Million Signatures
To Press Islamist-Led Government's Resignation
12 August, 2013
Tunisia's Tamarod (Rebel) movement has collected 1.6 million signatures demanding the dissolution of the country's constituent assembly and resignation of the government. The Tamarod made this announcement on Sunday. The figure would amount to some 15 percent of the country's population.
Media reports from Tunisia said:
Tamarod’s organizers said their aim was to gather two million signatures to press for the government's resignation and to establish a new union government.
Meanwhile, Rached Ghannouchi, the head of Tunisia's ruling Islamist party Ennahda, and Mustapha Ben Jaafar, speaker of the National Constituent Assembly, are to meet Houcine Abassi, the chief of the country’s most powerful trade union UGTT on the political crisis. The union made the announcement.
The union can paralyze the country with strike action.
The planned meeting comes after Ben Jaafar announced the suspension of the assembly's work drawing up a new constitution while the Islamist-led government and the opposition hold talks on ending the political crisis. Ben Jaafar has proposed the UGTT as mediator for the talks. The union has called for the resignation of the Islamist-dominated cabinet and its replacement by a government of technocrats.
Ennahda has rejected the proposal so far.
Ghannouchi earlier had met the head of employers' organization Utica, Wided Bouchamaoui. Utica too has called for the formation of a cabinet of technocrats.
At the same time, Tunisia's Tamarod has informed five of its activists were on hunger strike in front of the constituent assembly to demand its dissolution and the resignation of the government.
Tunisia's opposition coalition, made up of parties from across the political spectrum, has refused to meet Ennahda until a new government is formed.
Hundreds of opposition supporters have kept up protests every night in front of the assembly and on August 6, tens of thousands took part in demonstrations.
The opposition is hoping to raise the pressure on the government with a new demonstration on August 13 to mark the anniversary of the promulgation of the Personal Status Code in 1956 under Tunisia's first president, Habib Bourguiba. The code gave Tunisians unequalled rights in the Arab world at the time, and the country's ruling Islamists have regularly been accused of trying to roll them back.
Ennahda's critics have blamed the Islamists for the rise of the ultra-conservative Salafist movement in the country since January 2011, whose violent actions are a threat to stability in the country.
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