Tunisia: new protest amid political crisis

More than 3,000 Tunisians, led by the father of assassinated opposition figure Chokri Belaid, marched through the capital Feb. 23 in a protest against the government’s “slow” investigation into the slaying. The case has become a focal point for widespread grievances against the ruling Islamist party and the country’s economic state. (AP, Feb. 23) Tunisian authorities say they have arrested an unspecified number of suspects in the killing, but Belaid’s family says members of the ruling Ennahda party were behind the assassination, and are being protected. (Middle East Online, Feb. 21)

The Ennahda party has chosen Interior Minister Ali Larayedh as its candidate to replace Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, who resigned after Belaid’s slaying. Larayedh, who was imprisoned and tortured under the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, has been interior minister since the dictator was ousted in 2011. He is seen as a moderate, following much speculation that the new prime minister would be from the hardline wing of the party. (Middle East Online, Feb. 22; France24, Feb. 21)