Tunisia PM warns against call to dissolve assembly

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Tunisia’s Tamarod movement, which has called for the dissolution of the National Constituent Assembly, is endangering the country’s democratic process, Islamist Prime Minister Ali Larayedh said on Monday.

“This copycat group which calls itself Tamarod is clear, and I think it represents a danger to the democratic process, an attempt to make it fail in Tunisia,” Larayedh said in a radio interview.

“I don’t think this movement will succeed. It’s a copy of something foreign in Tunisia,” he added, referring to Egypt’s grass-roots movement behind the mass protests that led to Islamist president Mohammed Mursi’s overthrow on July 3.

Shortly before Mursi was ousted, Tunisia’s version of Tamarod (rebellion in Arabic) launched a petition demanding the dissolution of the national assembly, where the ruling Islamist party holds the most seats.

Ennahda, which is close to Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood and heads Tunisia’s coalition government, triumphed in October 2011 parliamentary polls -- the first freely-held elections after the mass protests that toppled former Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

According to the latest figures, dated July 14, the group has collected 870,000 signatures, Tamarod spokesman Mehdi Said told AFP.

The claim could not be verified.

The movement, which was created by 14 youth activists, has struggled to mobilize mass support and internal differences have seen three of its founding members evicted.

The National Constituent Assembly has failed to adopt a new constitution nearly two years after it was elected, due to a lack of consensus among MPs, and has also been repeatedly criticized for its inefficiency and the non-attendance of members.

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