Tunisian Prime Minister Jebali
Tunisian Prime Minister Jebali

Tunisia's Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has resigned over the political crisis prompted by the assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid.

In a live television address to the nation, the Islamist Ennahda party leader said he was stepping down but his resignation "does not mean failure of revolution".

He had proposed dissolving the government to make way for a caretaker administration in the wake of the murder of 48-year-old leftist secular leader Belaid. But Abdelhamid Jelassi, vice-president of the ruling Islamist party, rejected the move saying the outgoing prime minister "did not ask the opinion of his party".

A critic of Ennahda, Belaid was shot point-blank four times outside his home in Tunis. His assassination led to claims of government negligence and complicity.

Hundreds of demonstrators flocked to the interior ministry building in Tunis and chanted anti-government slogans. There was sporadic violence as demonstrators clashed with police in scenes reminiscent of the final days of Tunisian dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

Jebali responded to the assassination of Belaid by proposing a new government of technocrats to lead to country to general elections.

He said the new ministers "would not belong to any party and [the caretaker government's] task would be limited to organising elections as soon as possible with a neutral administration".

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