Tunisian dialogue talks to commence following tense exchanges Tuesday
A member of Tunisia's ruling Islamist Ennahda party accused the opposition of trying to "destroy" proposed dialogue negotiations scheduled to commence Wednesday by calling for anti-government protests, according to AFP.
Vice-president of Ennahda's political bureau, Noureddine Aarbaoui, said that "there are negative preparations taking place [among the opposition] that aim to destroy the consensus...one side calls for dialogue and the other for protests."
A group of opposition parties are planning to demonstrate in the capital Tunis to demand the Islamist-led government's "immediate departure" at the commencement of the dialogue Wednesday, but the brokered roadmap, drafted by Tunisia's powerful UGTT trade union who is mediating the dialogue, gives Ennahda three weeks to resign from its leadership. Aarbaoui and Ennahda have called on the UGTT to persuade the opposition parties to abandon their planned rally.
The controversial pro-government militia group, Leagues for the Protection of the Revolution, has called for rival protests in the same area as the planned opposition protests, suggesting the potential for imminent clashes between the two groups.
The dialogue is part of a roadmap plan that seeks to establish a new constitution, electoral laws and a timetable for elections, but Tunisian media expressed doubts Tuesday that the proposed dialogue would end the political turmoil that has enveloped the country since the July assassination of opposition MP Mohamed Brahimi.
The launch of the dialogue coincides with the second anniversary of Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly elections following the ouster of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
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