Tunisian president, PM quit RCD

Tunisian president, PM quit RCD
# 19 January 2011 03:49 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Tunisian interim President Fouad Mebazaa and Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi have resigned from the ruling party of ousted leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, APA reports quoting Press TV.

They quit Tunisia’s ruling Constitutional Democratic Rally party (RCD) on Tuesday as protests over the inclusion of RCD members in the new government came to a peak, CNN reported.

The RCD says it has expelled Ben Ali and six of his associates from the party.

Four ministers of the prime minister’s one-day-old coalition have already left the new government amid widespread public displeasure at the new cabinet lineup.

The two top officials’ resignation from the RCD was apparently intended to calm the outraged demonstrators who took to the streets of Tunis earlier on Tuesday, calling for the old administration to be swept from power.

The unity government that was formed on Monday included opposition members and members of Ben Ali’s party, but the protesters are demanding that backers of the ousted president be kicked out of the new governing team.

"No leftovers from the old regime!" protesters chanted.

Riot police clashed with the protesters and fired tear gas to break up the demonstrations.

The General Union of Tunisian Workers has also refused to recognize the new government. The union stated that the presence of members of the toppled president’s cabinet makes the unity government a “masquerade” still dominated by Ben Ali’s supporters.

In addition, the Tunisian Islamic Party Ennahdha has announced that it plans to boycott the presidential election scheduled to be held in six months.

Ben Ali’s 23-year rule ended after weeks of street protests culminated in the victory of the popular revolution. His era was marred by numerous human rights violations and acts of torture.