Tunisia’s ruling Islamist Ennahda party on Thursday rejected Prime Minister Hamdi Jebali’s proposal to dissolve the government and install a Cabinet of technocrats in a bid to restore calm after the killing of an opposition leader.
“The prime minister did not ask the opinion of his party,” said Abdelhamid Jelassi, Ennahda’s vice-president. “We in Ennahda believe Tunisia needs a political government now. We will continue discussions with others parties about forming a coalition government.”
Jebali announced he was dissolving the government on Wednesday after leading secular opposition politician Chokri Belaid was gunned down outside his home in Tunis, sending protesters onto the streets across the country.
Tunisia's main trade union has now called for general strike on Friday in reaction to the latest unrest in the country and in support of the slain opposition figure.
Around a hundred people gathered late Wednesday in bitterly cold Montreal to express their outrage over the shooting death of Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid.
The mostly young protesters held candles, and some wrapped themselves in Tunisian flags in the below-freezing weather.
Belaid, whose funeral will be on Friday after the main weekly prayers, was a populist known for his iconic smile and black mustache.
A lawyer who spoke with the working class accent of northwestern Tunisia, he defended human rights, was jailed under Ben Ali and ex-president Habib Bourguiba, and was a member of executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s defense team.
His death sparked deadly protests in Tunisia, attacks on offices of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party and pledges for a new government of technocrats.