Tunisia. According to
Countryaah, two murders of high-ranking opposition
politicians threw the country into a political crisis where
the government, led by moderate Islamists, was increasingly
crowded by the secular opposition. Chokri Bela´d, leader of
the People's Front Alliance (FP), was shot dead on February
6 outside his home in Tunis. The suspicions fell on
jihadists within the Ansar al-Sharia group, but accusations
were also directed at the government, which was believed to
have been released against the jihadists. Thousands of
people demonstrated against the government. FP and other
opposition parties broke out of the Constituent Assembly
that worked on writing a new constitution.
Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali of the Islamist party
al-Nahda resigned and dissolved the government, where on
February 22, President Moncef Marzouki appointed Interior
Minister Ali Laarayedh from al-Nahda as new prime minister.
He formed government together with two secular parties, CPR
(Collection for the Republic) and Ettakatol.
The situation worsened on July 25 when MP Mohamed Brahmi,
leader of the Nationalist Party People's Movement, was shot
dead in Tunis. The government announced the day after the
same weapons were used in both murders. Large demonstrations
followed and the powerful trade union UGTT announced a
general strike in protest against "terrorism, violence and
The murders polarized the population as the younger and
less religious became increasingly frustrated by the
increased influence of Islamism, unemployment and rising
food prices. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in
August and September against the new government, and the
government promised to resign as soon as an agreement with
the opposition was reached during mediation by the UGTT. In
December, the parties agreed to appoint Industry Minister
Mehdi Jomaa as new acting prime minister. A major problem
was that in practice the country lacked constitution. In
April, the Constituent Assembly presented a draft new
constitution, but important parts were missing.
Struggles raged between government forces and Ansar
al-Sharia, especially in the Chaambi Mountains near the
border with Algeria. Dozens of men were reported killed
during the year on both sides, but transparency was minimal.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave the go-ahead
for a $ 1.75 billion loan to help Tunisia recover
A 35-year-old Tunisian was arrested on October 8 in Italy
on suspicion of organizing the Libyan refugee trip which
ended with at least 350 people drowned near the Italian
island of Lampedusa.