Tunisia: Nidaa Touness collapse confirmed at congress

The congress held by Nidaa Touness on Sunday, the first since the party was established in 2012, confirmed that the party is falling apart as more MPs resigned from the party which lost its majority to Ennahda.

Party members claimed that 42 members of the political bureau also resigned to protest the increasing dominance of President Essebsi’s son, Hafedh Caid Essebsi, on the party.

Hafedh Caid Essebsi has been named Secretary General and legal representative of the party, prompting 11 MPs to resign from the party on Monday. With the new resignations, Nidaa Touness is left with only 58 seats in the 217-seat Parliament compared to Ennahda’s 69.

Analysts say the ruling party will not be immediately bothered because Ennahda is part of the coalition government but such scenarios could lead to early elections when disagreement over crucial reforms surfaces. The situation may complicate attempts to push through sensitive reforms such as demands by international lenders to curb public spending and revive the economy.

28 MPs have resigned since the saga began at the end of last year to protest what they call “the policy of exclusion and the hereditary transfer of power to the president’s son.”

Former Nidaa Touness Secretary General Marzouk Mohsen, who was among the first to resign from the party said those who left did so because the party was derailing from its vision. He said he was not against the president or the coalition government.

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