Paris, France - The French political class has unanimously condemned the assassination on Wednesday in Tunis of the Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaïd, secretary-general of the Tunisian Party for Democratic Patriots (PPD).
French president, François Hollande, the leaders of the two main political parties, as well as the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, have issued separate statements to express their sadness following the assassination.
President Hollande 'strongly' condemned the assassination saying that it had deprived Tunisia of its most courageous and free voice.
'France expresses concern about the escalation of political violence in Tunisia and calls for the respect of ideologies embodied by the Tunisian people during the revolution,' said president Hollande in a press release.
The governing Socialist party (PS) expressed 'sadness' and wished that the crime is investigated promptly.
'The Socialist party has noted with concern that security in Tunisia is not improving and regrets the intimidation, as well as the continuing tensions between the various political stakeholders,' said Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, PS national secretary to Europe and the International community, and Pouria Amirshahi, national Secretary of Democratic Transitions and Francophonie.
Jean-François Copé, leader of the Union for People's Movement (UMP), an opposition party, expressed 'horror and consternation' and said his party 'fully supports the democratic forces of Tunisian opposition who are fighting for modern and democratic society, whatever their political side'.
He noted that the signals from Tunisia over the past few months had been disturbing citing the assassination of Lotfi Naghd, coordinator of Nida Tounes at Tataouine, destruction of mausoleums, intimidation measures against the opposition figures and violent acts against the 'League of protection of the revolution'.
The mayor of Paris, Delanoé, also strongly condemned the assassination and called all Tunisians to replace the spirit of political violence with that of responsibility.