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Tunisia’s PM says Islamist-led Cabinet will not resign

Published: Updated:

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh said on Monday that the Islamist-led government will not resign despite opposition calls following the assassination of left-wing leader Mohammad Brahimi last week.

In a defiant press conference, Larayedh promised to finish the constitution by October and hold elections on Dec. 17.
“This government will stay in office: we are not clinging to power, but we have a duty and a responsibility that we will exercise to the end,” he told state television, proposing December 17 as the date for a general election.

The slaying of Brahimi on Thursday plunged the country into political turmoil, with the opposition accusing the government of failing to ensure security for citizens.

Larayedh praised the work of security forces saying they were able to identify the assassins within 24 hours. He slammed parties he didn’t name as seeking to sow chaos in the country through “deception.”

More than 50 members of the national assembly resigned, calling for it and the government to be resolved.

The move was backed on Monday by protests of thousands of people outside the assembly.

Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahda Islamist Party that runs the government, told The Associated Press that his movement is “open to all propositions,” but he rejected the dissolution of the assembly, saying it “represents legitimacy of the ballot box since it was elected democratically.”