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Tunisia Unity Government not so United, Interim President and PM Resign from Ruling RCD Party

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The interim government formed by Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi did not survive its first few hours. Under intense popular pressure four appointed Ministers decided to resign as protesters continue to demand the ousting of RCD cabinet members. Among the most vocal voices in this protest are the Islamists and far-left opposition figures who have been sidelined and essentially banned from participating.

Three of the four ministers who resigned today are from the UGTT trade union, which has been playing a major role in organizing the revolt against the Ben Ali regime. Their resignation came after their trade union’s leadership announced that it is dropping its recognition of the new government. They are Anouar Ben Gueddour, Abdeldjelil Badoui and Hocine Bimassi.

The bad news for Ghannouchi kept on coming, with a similar decision to drop its support coming from the FDLT opposition party, whose leader Mustapha Ben Jaafar, joined the unity cabinet as health minister. Ben Jaafar is said to be the fourth to resign.

The leftist opposition party Ettajdid also threatened to leave the government if the RCD members who have been retained are not sacked.

Focus on the RDC Party:

Given its affiliation to the departing President Ben Ali, the RCD ruling party is facing an unwinnable battle and an unprecedented backlash. No major public relation offensive can help it recover at this stage, and unless the military protects it, there is a slim chance for it to resist the pressure as its collapse is near. Dismantling and banning it may be the only options left for it at this stage. Many in Tunisia say that no fair solution could be reached if the RCD assets are not confiscated, calling also for the dismantling of all its affiliated structures and entities that permeate across the entire Tunisian society.

Pressure on the RCD is so intense that interim President Foued Mebazaa and Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi resigned from that party today. The RCD leadership issued a press release stating that it has expelled Ben Ali and six of his aids from the party.

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