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Tunisia Islamists nix idea of a new cabinet

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 7:04 p.m.

TUNIS— Tunisia's Islamist-led government on Thursday rejected a proposal by its prime minister to form a new cabinet amid growing political tension after nationwide protests sparked by the assassination of a key opposition figure.

The announcement by the dominant Nahda party highlighted differences among Islamists and spurred fresh uncertainty over how to keep the slaying of Chokri Belaid, a fierce government critic, from tipping the economically fragile country into deeper unrest.

Tunisia's main labor union heightened the pressure by calling for a one-day general strike to coincide with Belaid's funeral on Friday. It was clear, however, that no prominent voice had a solution to quickly stem the worst crisis since the revolution two years ago that overthrew longtime autocrat Zine el Abidine ben Ali.

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