Ruling Islamists to rally in Tunis


Supporters of Tunisia’s ruling Ennahda party have called for a pro-govt rally, one day after the funeral for an assassinated leftist politician drew hundreds of thousands of mourners into the capital’s heavily-policed streets.
The ruling Ennahda party called supporters to gather in central Tunis on Saturday afternoon at 2:30pm local time (1330 GMT) to show support for the constitutional assembly, whose work on a new constitution suffered a severe setback when leftist parties withdrew their participation following the killing of Chokri Belaid earlier this week.
Ennahda said the demonstration would also be a protest against “French interference” after comments earlier in the week by Manuel Valls, French foreign minister, who denounced the killing as an attack on “the values of Tunisia’s Jasmine revolution”. Tunis’ main thoroughfare, Avenue Bourguiba, was bustling on Saturday morning, with full cafes and shops reopened after a general strike a day earlier. Police in riot armor and plainclothes officers patrolled but gone were the tear gas and running street battles of a day before.
Belaid, who in his car outside his home, was killed while by an unknown assailant.
Hours after his killing on Wednesday, Hamadi Jebali, the prime minister, said he would form a new, technocratic government to guide the country to elections, but Ennahda, his own party, rejected that idea soon afterward.
Late Friday, Jebali renewed his proposal for a new government, which would be a key concession to the country’s opposition. “I am convinced this is the best solution for the current situation in Tunisia,” he said, offering to resign if the elected assembly did not accept his proposed cabinet.