The Deputy Head of Tunisia's Al-Nahda Party said on Sunday that the Islamic movement is ready to accept any solution aimed at ending the transitional period in order to conduct elections as soon as possible. Abdul-Hamid Al-Jelasy, whose party leads the ruling coalition, was speaking to the German media when he made the announcement.
Tension between the ruling coalition and the opposition parties in Tunisia has risen since the assassination of prominent opposition leader Shokri Baleed in February. The government led by Hamadi al-Jabali stood down in response to opposition demands.
A second political assassination, this time of opposition leader Mohamed al-Barahmi last month, led to opposition calls for a non-factional national salvation government and for the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, which represents the interim supreme authority of the country. Opposition protesters, including 60 members who withdrew from the Constituent Assembly, have been gathering in Baroud Square since July 27.
Mr Al-Jelasy said that Al-Nahda spent the Eid holiday discussing a broader coalition and trying to reach agreeable solutions. "The status quo is not in anyone's interests," he said. "We want to reach an agreement today, before tomorrow."
Al-Nahda leader Shaikh Rashid Ghannouchi said previously that the current government and the Constituent Assembly are "red lines". However, observers feel that Al-Jelasy's remarks are more flexible than his leader's. Ghannouchi's deputy even wondered whether pivotal change in the current government is possible since the time of the elections is approaching; this was set by Prime Minister Ali al-Areed as December 17 following Al-Barahmi's murder. Experts including the head of the Independent Elections Committee are sceptical about that date; at least ten months is needed to prepare for elections, they say.