Tunisian prime minister Hamadi Jebali resigned last night after his attempt to end a political stand-off by forming a government of technocrats failed.
“I vowed that if my initiative did not succeed, I would resign and … I have already done so,” Mr Jebali said after meeting president Moncef Marzouki.
Mr Jebali had proposed the cabinet of apolitical technocrats to quell turmoil caused by the assassination of secular opposition politician Chokri Belaid on 6 February. However, the proposal was rejected by his own party.
Mr Belaid’s death touched off mass protests, which in part targeted the ruling moderate Islamist party Ennahda to which Mr Jebali belongs.
No-one claimed responsibility for the killing, but it deepened the misgivings of secularists who believe Mr Jebali’s government has failed to deal firmly enough with religious extremists threatening the country’s stability.