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Tunisia 'at a crossroads'

Prominent Tunisian opposition leader, Chokri Belaid, was assassinated on Wednesday, driving many to the streets. Officials fear the assassination may destabilize Tunisia's recent progress toward democracy. 

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Protesters gather with a Tunisian flag at the ambulance carrying the body of opposition leader Chokri Belaid in Tunis. The Tunisian opposition leader critical of the Islamist-led government and violence by radical Muslims was shot to death Wednesday.

AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi

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Shaken by the assassination of a prominent leftist opposition leader that unleashed major protests, Tunisia's prime minister announced Wednesday that he would form a new government of technocrats to guide the country to elections "as soon as possible."

The decision by Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali was a clear concession to the opposition, which has long demanded a reshuffle of the Islamist-dominated government. It also came hours after the first assassination of a political leader in post-revolutionary Tunisia.

The killing of 48-year-old Chokri Belaid, a secularist and fierce critic of Ennahda, the moderate ruling Islamist party, marked an escalation in the country's political violence and sparked allegations of government negligence — even outright complicity. It also bolstered fears that Tunisia's transition to democracy will be far more chaotic than originally hoped.

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