Ex-Tunisia PM proposes 'supreme council' to lead country out of crisis
by Reda al-Tamtam
A veteran Tunisian politician has proposed the formation of a "supreme council" to lead the troubled North African country out of its current political crisis.
The proposed council must have wide-ranging powers and be open to all political forces, Beji Caid al-Sebsi, former prime minister and current head of the opposition Call for Tunisia Party, told the privately-owned Nessma satellite television channel on Sunday night.
Al-Sebsi added that Tunisia's powerful General Labor Union and Union for Industry, Commerce and Handicrafts must also be represented on the proposed council.
Tunisia's political crisis was initially sparked by the July assassination of opposition leader Mohamed Brahmi, which had led to a general strike and days of protests that paralyzed the capital.
At the time, security officials had said that Brahmi had been assassinated with the same weapon used to kill another opposition figure, Chokri Belaid, in February.
Four Tunisian organizations have begun sponsoring dialogue between the ruling Ennahda Party and the opposition with the aim of agreeing on a new prime minister to head up a new caretaker government to oversee upcoming elections.
Early this month, the four sponsors of the national dialogue issued political forces with a Saturday deadline by which to reach consensus on a new prime minister.
According to al-Sebsi, the formation of the proposed higher council will provide solutions for the country's ongoing political stalemate.
He went on to assert that the proposed council should wield greater powers than both the interim parliament and the presidency.
"But priority must be given now to the selection of a new prime minister," said al-Sebsi, who had assumed the premiership for about ten months in 2011 following the ouster of the Ben Ali regime.
He expects Tunisian political forces to reach consensus on a new prime minister before the Saturday deadline issued by the four national dialogue sponsors.