The Tunisian Prime minister, Hamadi Jebali, on Tuesday announced his resignation after his attempts to set up government exclusively of technocrats failed.
'I (pledged) to resign in case my initiative does not get the majority support of political parties and this is what I've just done,' Mr Jebali told the press after meeting president Moncef Marzouki.
His proposal was rejected by his own party, the Islamist movement, Ennahdha, which is the majority in the constituent assembly and holds several key ministries including Interior, Justice and Foreign affairs.
His resignation follows a huge political crisis rocking the North African country following the assassination on 6 February of opposition leader Chkri Belaïd, which has sparked tension and demonstrations.
Under the draft bill on the provisional organization of the government, called semi-constitution, amended after the elections that followed the fall in January 2011 of the totalitarian regime of Ben Ali, the president designates a person chosen by the party with the largest number of members at the national constituent assembly (ANC) to set up new cabinet in five days.
If not, the president has the liberty to name the personality of his choice.
Mr Jebali announced that he is willing to serve again as Prime Minister on condition that it is 'within the framework of national dialogue that does not exclude any party'.
Another demand is that the next government must put among its priorities the setting of the date for the upcoming elections.