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Tunisia leaders aim for new power-sharing deal 'in coming hours'

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 27, 2013 7:58 PM

TUNIS (Reuters) - Coalition partners of Tunisia's ruling Islamist party said on Saturday they were in talks to reach a new power-sharing deal, in a bid to stave off unrest as protests intensified late into the night.

The spokesman for the Constituent Assembly, Tunisia's transitional parliament tasked with drafting a new constitution, said he expected a deal in the coming hours.

"The trend now is to move towards expanding the base of power," Mufdi al-Masady told a local radio station.

The effort to reach a new deal by secular coalition partners of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party could help defuse increasingly hardline rhetoric on both sides. But so far, protests in the country have continued, some of them violent.

Tensions have skyrocketed in Tunisia since the Thursday assassination of secular opposition figure Mohamed Brahmi. Secular opposition groups immediately began organizing protests and demanded the dissolution of the Islamist-led government.

Their efforts have been fuelled by the recent protests and unrest in Egypt, which toppled that country's democratically elected but unpopular Islamist leader a year after he came to power.

(Reporting by Erika Solomon; Editing by Peter Cooney)