TUNIS: Tunisia’s opposition Friday rejected the ruling Islamists’ proposals for ending a monthlong political crisis, ahead of anti-government protests, saying their offer to enter talks on a technocrat administration was insufficient.
“All negotiations without the [immediate] dissolution of the government are a waste of time,” said Taieb Baccouche, a representative of the National Salvation Front, the broad coalition of opposition parties.
He was speaking after meeting members of the UGTT trade union confederation, which has been mediating between the two sides and forwarded the ruling Ennahda Party’s proposals.
The UGTT’s secretary-general, Houcine Abassi, met parliamentary speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar and was due to hold talks with Ennahda’s leader Rached Ghannouchi later in the day.
Jilani Hammami, another NSF representative, described Ennahda’s proposals, the details of which were not communicated to the media, as ambiguous.
Ennahda indicated Thursday, for the first time since the start of the crisis triggered by the assassination of opposition MP Mohammad Brahmi on July 25, that it might agree to the resignation of the coalition government which it heads.
But the Islamists stressed a “national dialogue” bringing together supporters and opponents of the ruling coalition needed to take place first.
The NSF has instead demanded the immediate formation of a new Cabinet composed entirely of independents, and has called for nationwide demonstrations, starting Saturday, with the first big gathering to take place outside the national assembly.
“We are going to keep up the pressure for the government’s dissolution, we have a plan to step up the mobilisation on the ground,” Hammami said.
Activists and opposition MPs have gathered regularly outside Parliament over the past month, with two protests, on August 6 and 13, drawing tens of thousands of people, and the NSF says Saturday’s demonstration will begin a week of rallies intended to force the government’s departure.