An agreement mediated by the powerful UGTT, Tunisia’s largest labor union, between the government and the largest opposition parties finalized late last year suggests a new start for the country’s democratic transition, writes Noah Rayman:
Under the plan, the Islamist-led government will relinquish power to a cabinet of technocrats ahead of a new round of elections. In exchange, the ruling party has demanded that the current legislature select the members of the board that will oversee the 2014 elections for the parliament and president — completed this week — and finalize the country’s new constitution, which it is slated to finish voting on by Jan. 13. …. Political parties agreed last month — albeit well after the initial Nov. 1 deadline for the negotiations — that Mehdi Jomaa, the current minister of industry who has no stated political affiliation, will assume Larayedh’s post in the new interim government.
“But a government of technocrats is no panacea for a country at a crossroads,” he adds. “In one of his last moves before announcing his resignation, Larayedh suspended a new tax hike on vehicles after two days of protests in several cities that stirred clashes with police, the latest in a series of demonstrations fueled by the poor economy.”