Tunisia's Islamist party rejects call for new government

The Islamist party dominating Tunisia's ruling coalition has rejected the initiative by its own prime minister for a non-partisan technocratic government.

Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali announced late Wednesday that he would dissolve the government and form a new one of technocrats to manage the country until elections -- a longstanding opposition demand.

The assassination of prominent leftist opposition politician Chokri Belaid plunged the country into crisis and set off anti-government riots around the country.

The Ennahda Party website quoted Abdel-Hamid Jalasi, vice president of the party, as saying Thursday they disagreed with the prime minister's move.

He said the country needed political figures in the government from the coalition.

The opposition had welcomed Jebali's move as a way out of the long-simmering political deadlock in Tunisia.