Tunisia’s governing Islamists agree to meet opposition

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Tunisia's governing Islamist party Ennahda announced on Sunday it was ready to meet opposition parties without preconditions to seek a consensus on how to resolve the country's worst political crisis since its 2011 Arab Spring revolution.

Fethi Ayadi, chairman of the party's supreme council, told journalists the talks could start by the end of the week and could consider opposition demands for a caretaker technocrat government to find a way out of the current standoff.

Ennahda chairman Rached Ghannouchi rejected that demand on Thursday, prompting criticism from opposition leaders who accuse his party of incompetent leadership and complacency towards a growing threat from violent hardline Salafis.

"We call for an immediate dialogue that brings together all parties of the opposition and the governing coalition, without any conditions," Ayadi said.

Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring revolutions that overthrew long-standing autocratic rulers, has been in turmoil for the past three weeks after suspected Salafi gunmen staged the second assassination of a secularist politician this year.

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