The party of President Beji Caid is descending into deeper crisis as party members elected Saturday two rival leaders in parallel congresses ahead of October and November parliamentary and presidential elections.
The first electoral congresses of Nidaa Tounes, which started last week under the motto of “unity” ended up into two congresses that elected two heads of the party’s central committee.
The first general assembly which started last week in Hammamet chose lawmaker Sofian Toubel as head of the central committee, while a congress held in the city of Monastir elected the President’s son Hafedh Caid Essebsi as head of the party’s central committee.
Hafedh protested against Toubel’s election. His new rival hit back demanding the party members not to “allow Hafedh to hold leading roles in the front rows of the party.”
The new crack within the Tunisian ruling party came few days after Beji Caid Essebsi said he was not keen to seek a second term despite calls within the political movement.
Tunisia will hold legislatives in October and elect a new President in November.
Nidaa Tounes with this further division finds itself weakened ahead of the two political challenges as it faces tough opposition from ruling coalition member, the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, and Prime Minister Youssef Chahed’s party, secular Tahya Tounes party.
Chahed left Nidaa Tounes last year after falling out with Hafedh accusing him of exporting the party’s problems to the state.