Three opposition Ministers inducted in the day-old national unity government have resigned, escalating further Tunisia's deep political crisis which began on Friday with the collapse of 23-year old dictatorship of the former President, Zine El Abidne Ben Ali.

The three who resigned on Tuesday — Anouar Ben Gueddour, Abdeljelil Bedoui and Houssine Dimassi — belong to the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT). The UGTT played a key role in bringing down the Ben Ali regime by participating in month-long protests which began on December 17 after a university graduate driven to selling vegetables set himself on fire in the city of Sidi Bouzid.

The announcement of the national unity government by Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi, which saw the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) Party holding on to the plum Foreign, Interior, Defence and Finance ministerial posts, apparently did not go down well with the protesters. State television quoted a UGTT representative as saying that its candidates withdrew because of the heavy RCD presence in the new government. Analysts say that a RCD purge has become the new call sign of the protests, which after a brief lull appeared to come alive again on Tuesday. Apart from Tunis, protests against the new dispensation were reported from cities of Sfax, Regueb, Kasserine and Sidi Bouzid.

On Monday, Moncef Marzouki, one of Tunisia's best known opposition figures from the secular-Left said the new government was a “masquerade” as it was filled with former discredited regime figures.

“Ninety dead, four weeks of real revolution, only for it to come to this? A unity government in name only because, in reality, it is made up of members of the party of dictatorship, the RCD,” France's I-Tele quoted him as saying.

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