January 5, 2014 - 14:27 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Tunisian lawmakers have rejected plans to make Islam the main source of law for the country, in a setback for hardline Islamist campaigners. The politicians blocked proposed amendments to the draft constitution, which would have made the Koran its main legal reference point, Jewish News One reports.
In a compromise agreed by the outgoing Islamist government and opposition, Tunisia has been defined as a republic, with Arabic as its state language and Islam as its religion. However, a January 14 deadline for adoption of the new constitution may not be achieved due to stalled discussions and infighting.
The Islamist Ennahda party has been ruling Tunisia since elections in October 2011. However, the party has overseen a crippled economy, social unrest and high unemployment. In November last year, protesters set fire to Ennahda’s headquarters in anger over living standards and poor governance.
The Tunisian government has been battling Islamist militants boosted by chaos in neighboring Libya. Turmoil began in July last year when an opposition leader was assassinated, igniting anti-government protests. While in October, an Islamist suicide bomber killed himself in a Tunisian tourist resort.
Tunisia was considered the ‘cradle of the Arab Spring’ after its 2011 revolution, and has seen comparative progress compared to the rest of the region. However, with discredited Islamists Ennahda still in power and a new constitution yet to be finalized, the country remains in limbo.