Tunisia Islamist chief rejects demand for neutral government

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The chairman of Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party rejected on Thursday opposition demands for anon-party government, saying this could not steer the country through “the delicate situation” it is in.

Ennahda party chairman Rached Ghannouchi said he would accept the creation of a government of national unity, but only provided all political parties are represented.

“We refuse a non-partisan government because this type of government could not manage the delicate situation of the country,” he told journalists. “The government needs a lot of time to manage the political and economic issues.”

Hamadi Jebali, the second-ranking leader of Ennahda, joined on Wednesday the opposition’s call for a non-political government and said elections should be held within six months.

Tunisia’s secular opposition parties are angry about two assassinations of opposition leaders in recent months, and has een emboldened by the Egyptian military's removal of President Mohammed Mursi last month after mass protests against his perceived attempts to entrench Islamist control of the state.

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