Tunisia president asks for 6-month political truce

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 14, 2011 4:40 PM
Tunisia president asks for 6-month political truce

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's new president on Wednesday asked for a six-month political truce and a moratorium on street protests, warning that otherwise the country would be committing "collective suicide."

Tunisia electrified the Arab world when it ousted its autocratic leader in January, but since then the caretaker authorities have been buffeted by social unrest, rows over the role of Islam and political turmoil.

"I appeal to all the Tunisian people to give us a political and social truce, just for six months," Moncef Marzouki, a former political prisoner installed as president this week, said in a interview with state television.

"A political truce including all the political parties ... (and) a social truce by immediately stopping all sit-ins and strikes," said Marzouki. "If we continue like this, it will be a collective suicide."

"If things aren't working out within six months, I will submit my resignation," said Marzouki. Under the temporary system put in place following the revolution, he holds the second most powerful post after the prime minister.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Kevin Liffey)