Tunisia’s ‘unity’ government unravels amid clashes
Any hope of political stability in Tunisia all but disappeared yesterday with the new government of “national unity” on the brink of collapse just a day after being formed.
Clashes continued between police and protesters who demanded that all vestiges of the oppressive former regime be swept away.
A group of opposition politicians — brought into a hastily cobbled-together government on Monday to try to placate the angry demonstrators — walked out in an atmosphere of growing fractiousness and uncertainty within the leadership. There were reports that Mohamed Ghannouchi, the Prime Minister, had to be persuaded not to resign.
The walkouts failed to prevent the steady unravelling of the coalition following vociferous demands from the rank and file of the opposition that their leaders must not serve in the same government as those who had previously worked under former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who fled on Friday after weeks of street protests against his corrupt rule.
Skirmishes took place around the city centre in Tunis yesterday with police using tear gas and batons to disperse marchers.