Tunisia’s ruling Islamists are preparing to resign in the next few days to make way for a caretaker cabinet once government and opposition parties agree on the makeup of an electoral commission, mediators said on Tuesday. Three years after its uprising ousted veteran autocratic president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia is in the final stages of its transition to full democracy after months of deadlock between Islamist and secular parties. Late last year, after a political crisis erupted, the ruling Islamist party Ennahda agreed to hand over power to a caretaker government once a new constitution was complete, an election committee named and a date for elections set. Tunisia’s national assembly last week began voting on the final parts of the new constitution, and parties on Tuesday were working out disagreements over composition of the election commission to oversee a vote later this year.
Mediators led by the powerful UGTT labor union said on Tuesday Prime Minister Ali Larayedh has expressed his readiness to step down once there is agreement on the nine members of the election commission.
“If parties reach an agreement, handover would come in the next two days,” Bou Ali Mbarki, deputy leader of the UGTT.
Tunisian parties have already named a new transitional prime minister, Mehdi Jomaa, an engineer and former minister who will appoint a non-political cabinet to rule until elections later this year.