Tunisia minister quits; pressure grows on govt
Tunis, July 31, 2013
Tunisian Education Minister Salem Labyedh has resigned, the prime minister's spokesman said on Wednesday, as pressure mounts on the Islamist-led government to step down amid a growing political crisis.
Last week's killing of a leftist politician, the second to be slain by suspected Islamist militants in six months, is disrupting a tense political transition that began when Tunisians toppled an autocratic leader in 2011.
Opposition parties, the largest labour union and the secular Ettakatol party, the ruling Islamist Ennahda party's junior coalition partner, have all demanded the government's departure.
Labyedh, a secular independent, had said he was considering resigning after fellow-leftist Mohamed Brahmi was shot dead on Thursday in an assassination the government has pinned on hardline Salafi Islamists. The opposition blames Ennahda.
The opposition is also calling for the dissolution of the transitional Constituent Assembly, just weeks before the elected body completes a new draft constitution.
Ennahda has softened its rejection of opposition demands, saying it was open to the possibility of a new government, but has firmly rejected demands to disband the Assembly. - Reuters