You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Negotiations on Tunisia political crisis fail

Labor leader Houcine Abassi said the government was stalling in talks.

Labor leader Houcine Abassi said the government was stalling in talks.

TUNIS, Tunisia — The Tunisian political crisis prompted by the assassination of a leading opposition figure deepened on Saturday after the main labor union said talks with the Islamist-led government had failed, casting doubt on the country’s ability to emerge from more than two years of turmoil.

Houcine Abassi, leader of the UGTT labor union representing 500,000 workers, said the government was stalling in response to demands that it resign and make way for an interim, nonpartisan replacement. The union, opposition lawyers, and human rights advocates say the government’s inability to ensure security led to the killings of two opposition figures in July and February.

Continue reading below

The death of Mohammed Brahmi, who was gunned down in front of his family on July 25, plunged Tunisia into its current crisis, as dozens of opposition lawmakers quit, freezing efforts to write a new constitution. Street protests and political paralysis have crippled the country.

Tunisia’s protesters, inspired by the self-immolation of a fruit seller, overthrew their decades-old authoritarian government in January 2011. Those protests spread through the Arab world, including to Egypt, Syria, and neighboring Libya.

Tunisia has so far fared better than those countries, setting an example for political cooperation when a coalition was formed between the Islamist Ennahda Party and two secular parties. But the troubled coalition government has failed to restore the economy or control religious extremists, which it blames for the two assassinations of opposition figures killed by the same gun. The killers remain at large.

The government’s immediate task — writing a constitution and paving the way for new elections — was newly called into question by Saturday’s announcement.

Abassi said the door was open to renewed negotiations, but the prospect seemed unlikely given his accusations of government ‘‘doublespeak and manipulation.’’

The opposition has accused Ennahda of being overly tolerant of a rising radical Islamist trend that has shown violent tendencies in its efforts to instill greater piety. Before the 2011 fall of Tunisia’s longtime dictator, the country had been known as one of the most secular countries in the Arab world.

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.