Supporters of Tunisia’s ruling Islamists have marched in Tunis to assert the Ennahda party’s right to lead a government.
They are angry at their own prime minister’s intention to form an administration of technocrats.
They chanted “the people want an iron Ennahda” and “supporting Ennahda is a duty”.
The movement was heavily repressed under Ben Ali’s dictatorship. After his overthrow two years ago, the party rose to become a powerful political force.
In parliamentary elections in October 2011, Ennahda won 41 per cent of the vote and took 89 of the 217 seats in the National Assembly – enough to make it the dominant partner in a coalition government.
Activists believe it has a right to keep control of key departments – Ennahda oversees the foreign, interior and justice ministries.
“Our aim is to confirm the legitimacy of Ennahda in the government, and not the government they want to impose,” said one protester.
Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has cancelled a Saturday deadline on forming a new government, putting back talks with other parties until Monday.
His decision to create a cabinet of technocrats follows the murder earlier this month of opposition leader Chokri Belaid, prompting Tunisia’s worst political crisis since the revolution.