TUNIS, Tunisia — The assassination of a second opposition politician in six months has escalated the pressure on Tunisia’s troubled Islamist-led coalition government, which came to power in the wake of the Arab Spring but is struggling to right the economy and rein in extremists.
With the country brought to a virtual standstill by a general strike and the revelation that the same gun was apparently used by an al-Qaeda-linked Islamist extremist cell in the two assassinations, calls grew Friday for the 18-month-old transitional government to stand down.
Six opposition parties holding 42 seats announced their withdrawal from the 217-seat national assembly and said that the government — a coalition between the Islamist Ennahda Party and two secular parties that was elected after the overthrow of the country’s longtime dictator — should be replaced by a temporary national unity government.
“The assassination of Mohammed Brahmi is a failure of the government and a failure of its security policy,” political analyst Alaya Allani said. “I think most of the political elite feel it is urgent after the assassination to dissolve the current government and replace it with a nonpartisan, competent one.”