Confusion reigned in Tunisia today after Islamist Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali said he would dissolve the government while his Ennahda party told him not to.
Mr Jebali announced late on Wednesday that he would form a new administration of "technocrats" to manage the country until this year's elections.
But Ennahda vice-president Abdel-Hamid Jelassi said the party had not been told in advance and disagreed.
He insisted that politicians remain in charge and that perhaps other parties should be brought into the government.
Mr Jelassi's statement on Ennahda's website made it clear that there were deep divisions within the ruling party itself, not just between the government and the opposition.
Opposition parties said Mr Jebali's decision was courageous.
The year-old government has been criticised for its inability to tackle the country's problems, particularly high unemployment and an economy battered by Europe's financial crisis and a drop in tourism.
As Ennahda politicians fought among themselves a strike was held today by lawyers, judges and teachers over the assasination of leftist leader Chokri Belaid.
The UGTT union federation called a general strike for tomorrow over the killing of Mr Chokri, who was shot several times in his car outside his home on Wednesday morning by unknown assailants.
Demonstrations erupted around the country on Wednesday and were put down by police using tear gas.
Though the capital Tunis was quiet today, radio stations reported full-scale riots in the southern mining city of Gafsa, where Mr Belaid's Popular Front coalition of left-wing parties has strong support.
Relations between the government and the opposition have deteriorated in recent months and talks over a government reshuffle have gone nowhere.
Four opposition groups including Mr Belaid's Popular Front bloc are pulling out of the National Constituent Assembly, which has failed to draft a new constitution since its election in October 2011.