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Tunisian president sacks gov't, calls for elections within six months: PM

01-15-2011 08:19 BJT

TUNIS, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali decided on Friday to dissolve the government and set up early legislative elections within six months, Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi said following a meeting with the president.

The announcement came after a mass demonstration gathering thousands of people on the capital's main avenue asked for his resignation. The peaceful gathering which assembled in front of the interior ministry turned violent and was later dispersed with tear gas as police charged protestors through the city center.

The Tunisian government also declared a national state of emergency, according to the Dubai-based al-Arabiya TV.

The al-Arabiya TV said the riots and protests have gone out of the government's control. According to the government, the death toll of weeks of deadly clashes between the protesters and policemen hit 23.

During his speech on Thursday, Ben Ali said he had ordered police to stop using live ammunition on protestors, insisting that he "never wanted things to develop the way they did."

Al-Arabiya reported that clashes between policemen and protestors spread from Tunis' main street into nearby neighborhoods, adding there was a dispute inside the Tunisian ruling party.

Ben Ali said Thursday that he will not seek a sixth term in office by vowing that he would not remove the constitutional age limit for presidential candidates.

"There is no presidency for life," he said, admitting that he had been misled by some officials who didn't tell him the whole truth.



Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: Xinhua

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