By Christian Beaumont, Principal Analyst
On 6 February 2013, Chokri Belaid, head of Tunisia’s secular Unified Democratic Nationalist party (UDN) was killed not far from his home in what appears to be a political assassination. Suspicion has fallen on extreme Islamist groups who have witnessed a resurgence since the fall of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. The offices of Ennahda, the moderate Islamist party which currently holds principal position within Tunisia’s coalition, were set ablaze within hours of the news breaking.
Even before the assassination Tunisia’s stratified political landscape has become increasing unstable. On 1 February 2013, one of Ennahda’s key coalition partners, the secular Congress for the Republic party (CFR) threatened to withdraw its support and bring down the government. The reason is a months-long disagreement over a cabinet reshuffle which was expected to deliver more senior ministerial portfolios to non-Ennahda members. However, Ennahda’s leadership reasons correctly that the government risks significant ruptures if any serious concessions are given to the CFR.