Tunisia’s temporary unity government will hold its first meeting today as it faces rising tensions just two days after being established.
Three ministers in the opposition UGTT trade union, including the transport and labour ministers, have already resigned from the interim government, due to their lack of confidence in a government that still has members of the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD) party that ruled under ousted president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
The ministers have called for the RCD to be dissolved entirely.
In response, prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi and interim president Fouad Mebaza have now left the RCD to try to separate the party from the government in an attempt to restore calm. However, Ghannouchi says that members of the former regime are crucial in the cabinet, as their expertise will help put in place a new programme of reforms.
Tunisia has been in a state of emergency since 14 January when Ben Ali dissolved parliament and then fled for Saudi Arabia. Weeks of protesting over poverty and unemployment forced Ben Ali to escape (MEED 17:1:11).
The government has been put in place to try to keep rule until elections are held in 60 days.
Acting as part of the so-called Jasmine Revolution, groups have now started to strip power from state-appointed directors and have deposed the editor-in-chief of Presse, a French language newspaper that acted as a mouthpiece for Ben Ali and his regime.