Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Tunisia's PM Ghannouchi Quits amid New Protests for Real Change

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Tunisia's PM Ghannouchi Quits amid New Protests for Real Change

Article excerpt

Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi's resigned Sunday, showing that Tunisian protesters won't stop until their revolution brings the change they demand.

Tunisia's Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced his resignation Sunday, responding to more than a month of demonstrations by protesters who said they did not want to be ruled by a crony of the president they ousted in a popular uprising.

His announcement came after the largest protests yet since former President Ben Ali fled for Saudi Arabia on Jan. 14, his capitulation beginning a wave of uprisings from Libya to Oman.

Around 100,000 people descended on the capital, Tunis on Friday demanding that Mr. Ghannouchi resign, and five people were killed in the demonstrations on Saturday, according to the government.

Ghannouchi's departure illustrates that the people power Tunisians discovered in January did not disappear with Ben Ali, and they will continue to deploy it if they are dissatisfied with their government.

It's unclear whether the staying power of Tunisia's revolution will trigger a second round of mass protests in fellow Arab countries already inspired by Tunisians' ability to oust their longtime dictator. But protesters in Egypt will take Ghannouchi's resignation as encouragement to keep fighting in their own struggle to displace a prime minister appointed by now-deposed President Hosni Mubarak, and to ensure that his toppling brings far-reaching and systematic change.

Why Ghannouchi quit

"I am not ready to be the person who takes decisions that would end up causing casualties," Ghannouchi said as he announced his resignation.

The turn toward violence in protests over the weekend came after they had been largely peaceful for weeks. Tunisia's interim president, Fouad Mebazaa, said Sunday that former government minister Beji Caid Essebsi would take up the post of prime minister. …

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