The New York Times reports: Tunisia’s governing Islamist party, Ennahda, thrust into power by the Arab Spring, has agreed to step down after months of political wrangling with a hard-bargaining opposition.
In three weeks, the Ennahda-led government is to hand over power to an independent caretaker government that will lead the country through elections in the spring. The deal comes as part of negotiations to restart Tunisia’s democratic transition after secular opposition groups, protesting the assassinations of two of their politicians, stalled work on a new constitution and an election law this summer.
The two sides will enter discussions this week mediated by the Tunisian General Labor Union, the nation’s largest. Its deputy secretary general, Bouali Mbarki, announced Ennahda’s acceptance of the plan on Saturday.
The move comes less than three months after the Islamist government of President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, also elected during the Arab Spring uprisings, was ousted by the military.
Ennahda officials have repeatedly made statements in recent weeks signaling the party’s readiness to resign as a way to break the political impasse. The opposition, and the union, have until now pressed for more concrete action. [Continue reading…]