Tunisia Party Leader Brahmi Shot Dead Outside His Home
Tunisian police fired tear gas to control clashes triggered by the killing of a senior opposition leader, the second assassination in a year in the North African country as it struggles to achieve stability after the 2011 uprising.
Mohamed Brahmi, secretary-general of the nationalist People’s Movement party, was shot outside his home in Tunis at about 11 a.m, according to medical officials at the Mahmoud Al Matri hospital where his body was taken. He suffered 11 gunshot wounds, they said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The February shooting of Chukri Beleid, who headed the Democratic Patriots party, sent thousands of Tunisians into the streets in protest, causing a political crisis that brought down Islamist Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali. The government blamed Beleid’s assassination on Islamic extremists while the opposition said the authorities were responsible.
Brahmi’s killing could further polarize the country between secularists and Islamists, said Anna Boyd, Senior Middle East Analyst at London-based IHS Country Risk, in an e-mailed note. “We are likely to see mass protests and counter-protests between secularists and Islamists, involving fighting in the center of Tunis and other urban centers.”
The Tunisian General Labor Union called for a general strike tomorrow in protest at the killing.
Standard Bank Plc advised investors to sell Tunisian bonds and buy credit default swaps. “The political and economic situation in Tunisia is likely to deteriorate further in coming months,” London-based emerging-market strategist Samir Gadio said in an e-mailed note today.
Tunisia’s parliament announced a day of mourning tomorrow.
Brahmi founded the People’s Movement party in 2011 and was one of those appointed to write the North African country’s new constitution. Ahmed Najib Chebbi, head of the Republican Party, said a panel of experts should finish the draft and submit it to a popular referendum, in an interview.
The ruling moderate Islamist Ennahda party posted a statement on its Facebook page, condemning “this heinous crime which targeted opposition politician M Brahmi and the democratic transition in Tunisia.”
Tunisia is struggling with political and economic instability after demonstrations led to the overthrow of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011, sparking uprisings across the Arab world and the fall of longtime leaders in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.
The office of President Moncef Marzouki condemned the killing of Brahmi, and on the day that the country was celebrating its idependance from France. He called on Tunisians to unite and to avoid violence.
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