The political turmoil in Tunisia has taken another unexpected turn.

Report from state media indicate that the country’s interim president and prime minister have resigned from the ruling party of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia as street protests rocked the nation.

President Fouad Mebazza and Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi have quit the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD) party, but will keep their government posts.

The resignations may have been engineered to placate street demonstrators who have demanded that all vestiges of the RCD party be removed from any new government.

Separately, formerly exiled opposition leader Moncek Marzouki returned from Paris to be welcomed by enthusiastic supporters.

Marzouki may consider running for president.

Ghannouchi has promised fair and free elections -- a presidential poll is to be held within two months.

Earlier Tuesday, at least four ministers allied with anti-RCD groups resigned from one-day old coalition government that was formed following the departure of Ben Ali.

According to other press reports, tanks and heavily armed riot police are patrolling the streets of Tunis. Most stores and businesses are shut and a curfew has been imposed.