Tunisian Ennahda party shaken by resignations and political crisis
TUNIS – During protests on October 3 in support of Tunisian President Kais Saied in the coastal province of Monastir in northeastern Tunisia, a group of people thrown into the sea a coffin, they said, contained the body of the Islamic Ennahda movement in a symbolic movement expressing the movement’s death and political demise.
Thousands of Tunisians took to the street in various provinces of the country in the first days of October to support Saied’s recent measures, including the dismissal of the government and the suspension of parliament.
Among many demands, the demonstrators called for the dissolution of the parliament controlled by Ennahda and to hold responsible the movement which has participated in the regime for 10 years and has failed at all levels.
In addition to growing popular discontent, Ennahda has also received a heavy blow amid unprecedented divisions recently. September 25, 113 executives and prominent members of the movement announced in a statement their resignation in to protest against management performance (in reference to Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the movement since its official creation in 1981, before it was recognized by the authorities after the 2011 revolution).
Those who resigned from the movement said their decision came in response to “the poor political choices of the leadership of Ennahda.”
The officials added in their statement that these choices had “isolated it (the movement) and prevented it from actively engaging in any common front to resist the imminent tyrannical danger represented by the decisions of September 22,” in reference to Saied’s announcement that he will govern by decree for two months, ignoring certain parts of the Tunisian Constitution.
Among those who resigned were first-class Ennahda leaders such as Abdel Latif al-Makki, Samir Dilo and Muhammad bin Salem, as well as a number of parliamentarians, as well as members of the National Constituent Assembly (formerly the parliament) and several members of the Shura Central Council, regional shura councils as well as local offices.
Ennahda Member of Parliament Salim Basbas told Al-Monitor that the resignations deeply affect the movement as they are numerous and important and given that they include important leaders. He noted that this wave of resignations weakens the movement, which is already facing internal divisions.
Basbas said that Ennahda had received a hard blow from within because of the resignations and also an external blow because of Saied’s decisions.
He called on the movement’s leadership to address the reasons for the resignations before the movement slips into a turn from which it cannot recover.
Al-Monitor attempted to contact some of the members who resigned; some did not respond to our calls, while others refused to make any statement to the media in light of the political unrest in the country.
Makki, who was a former health minister, said in a private Mosaique radio interview on September 26 that the resignations came after all attempts at internal reform had failed. He declared that it is the duty of the leader of the movement – in reference to Ghannouchi – to resign and make way for a new leadership to reassure the Tunisian people.
Meanwhile, Ghannouchi said in an interview with Al-Jazeera.net on September 28 that the resignations will affect the movement and its cohesion, adding: “Those concerned quickly announced their resignation, even though there was room. for dialogue to reach compromises… but to each his own.
Abid Briki, Secretary General of the Tunisia Forward Movement (“Tunisia Forward”), told Al-Monitor that the resignations reflect the end of political Islam in the Arab world due to the failure of its political choices and its absence of any political or economic program.
Briki said the Islamic Ennahda movement’s political trip to the country was over, especially after being accused of being behind the assassinations of secular opposition leaders Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi in 2013 and of fueling the unprecedented increase in terrorist attacks during his 10-year rule. .
Ennahda has been facing a major crisis since Saied sacked the government and suspended parliament on July 25 in response to protests over the leadership’s performance over the past few years.
Bassel Turjuman, journalist and political analyst, told Al-Monitor that Ennahda had lost much of its legitimacy and a significant number of its popular base. Its alliance with parties accused of corruption (such as the Heart of Tunisia party) also caused it to lose its credibility with its base, convinced that the movement would embody the ethics of Islam with its religious authority.
On July 31, a group of young people from Ennahda called on the current leadership of the movement to take responsibility for the failure of the Tunisian people’s demands and to recognize the state of tension and anger at the ineffectiveness of political choices. , economic and social aspects of the party. , and the way he handled alliances and political crises.
Political analyst Abdel-Jabbar al-Madouri told Al-Monitor that internal disputes within Ennahda and the many resignations resulted from many reasons, including Ghannouchi’s decision on August 23 to dissolve the executive office and then form a new office following Saied’s takeover.
The reasons, Madouri continued, also include the decision to freeze the membership of one of the movement’s leaders, Imad al-Hamami, and send him back to the front. Iinternal System Committee September 1, not to mention Ghannouchi’s long reign over the movement. This prompted senior executives to choose to step down instead of clashing with him (Ghannouchi), as he continued his management approach on his own, Madouri explained.