Tunisia suspends constituent assembly (VIDEO)


People take part in a rally on August 6, 2013 at Place de la Republic in Paris which gathered some 200 protestors asking for the resignation of the Tunisian government. Tunisia's Islamist ruling party chief has said the government will not step down under pressure from the opposition, even as fresh protests were being readied on Tuesday to demand just that. Sign reads 'Ennahdha leave.'



Tunisian authorities on Tuesday suspended the constituent assembly, the body tasked with drafting a new constitution, until the government can hold talks with the opposition, according to Al Jazeera.

There have been daily protests calling for the group to be disbanded after committee member Mohamed Brahmi was murdered on July 25, said Deutsche Welle.

Earlier on Tuesday, according to Reuters, tens of thousands of protesters rallied in the capital, Tunis, calling for the transitional government to quit. 

Tunisia's assembly speaker said the group's work will be put on hold until "dialogue commences" between the nation's Islamist leadership and the largely secular opposition, reported BBC News

The assembly was believed close to finishing a draft constitution (eight months behind schedule, according to the BBC).

Earlier Tuesday, Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh told the assembly to "hurry and finish the constitution quickly" so they could hold elections; but hours later, constituent assembly speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar publicly announced the group's suspension, said the BBC

Jaafar also criticized the authorities' response to the crisis. "Despite the gravity of the situation and instead of working towards unity, party leaders have unfortunately gone in the opposite direction — towards division," the BBC cited him as saying.

"The people are fed up with this situation and can no longer tolerate this wait."