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‘Tunisia-nizing’ Ennahda or ‘Brotherhood-izing’ Tunisia?

‘Tunisia-nizing’ Ennahda or ‘Brotherhood-izing’ Tunisia?

Monday, 8 June, 2020 - 09:45
Jebril Elabidi
Libyan writer and researcher

‘Tunisia-nizing’ Ennahda or ‘Brotherhood-izing’ Tunisia? This is the intractable and incomprehensible formula in Tunisia these days in light of Ennahda leadership’s insistence on maintaining ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, accused of terrorism in many countries.

There is considerable interaction as well as a social, political and parliamentary movement that is demanding the Ennahda leadership, led by Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, to respect the sovereignty of the state and to end the Muslim Brotherhood’s infiltration of the Tunisian state after its heretic “parliamentary diplomacy” that has violated all the notions of the state, the separation of powers and the Tunisian constitution, which has limited all foreign policy to the president without any say for parliament.

Ghannouchi has also attempted to make himself a parallel president and head of the higher authorities of the state in a clear violation of the Tunisian constitution. This has pushed President Kais Saied to remind Ghannouchi that Tunisia has one president, who resides in Carthage Palace, and has no partners in the presidency.

Ghannouchi tried to play the role of the president, flying to Turkey to meet with the Turkish president without notifying the Tunisian parliament and in the absence of the ambassador as per protocol, nor did he brief parliament on his visit after returning.

Additionally, he tried to push Tunisia into regional camps, rushing to congratulate the unconstitutional Libyan Government of National Accord for taking over a military base, which is not the job of the Speaker.

Despite justifying his visit to Turkey as partisan, Anatolia described Ghannouchi as the Speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People and not the head of Ennahda Movement. In addition, he was received at the presidential palace and not in Erdogan’s home.

Ghannouchi seems to have felt that his current position does not fulfill his ambitions, and is consequently trying to be a parallel president of Tunisia. This was not accepted by Tunisian parties and the national elites except for Ennahda and its partners.

Despite having come up with the so-called “positive neutrality” in relation to the Libyan crisis, Ghannouchi has shifted his country from neutrality, after stating, “There is no point of being neutral towards the Government of National Accord”, standing beside the Brotherhood-affiliated government and not his country’s interests, behaving like the president of a group rather than the Speaker.

Ghannouchi is the leader of the Brotherhood’s Ennahda which is facing many crises, including accusations by the late president, Caid Essebsi, that it has a secret intelligence service, and defections and fractures within the movement, most recently exemplified by Ziad Athari and Ennahda’s Sheikh and spokesperson Abdelfattah Mourou.

Tunisia and Ennahda are paying the price for Ghannouchi’s mistakes and for violating Tunisia’s neutrality toward regional conflicts and camps.

The latest parliamentary session was turned from attempts to question Ghannouchi to a dialogue for fear of legal prosecution in a heated session that forced Ghannouchi to hear what he hated the most, most notably from MP Abir Moussi saying, “Ghannouchi has turned parliament into a means to implement the Brotherhood’s agenda in the Arab Maghreb.”

She added that “the legislature has become a personal farm for the Sheikh of the Brotherhood.”

Moussi had been able to gather more than 100,000 signatures to pass a motion of no confidence in Ghannouchi.

The Speaker has become a subject of dispute in Tunisia, despite Ennahda and its partners’ attempts to avoid critics. The phase of his downfall has begun despite his pledge to revise his actions in light of escalating tension within Ennahda and disputes that have surfaced amid its leadership’s attempts to conceal them.

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