Tunisia: Nidaa Tounes crisis worsens, breakaway possible

Tunisia: Nidaa Tounes crisis worsens, breakaway possible

Tunisia’s coalition government led by Nidaa Tounes is fragilized as internal tensions continue to increase within the ruling party that won in last year elections 85 of the 217 parliament seats.

Lazhar Akremi, a founding member of the party hinted that around 35 of the party’s Members of Parliament are planning to breakaway and form a new party because “there’s a monarchical culture… which we can’t accept.”

Akremi who served as minister of relations between the government and parliament before resigning last month on allegations of corruption in the party, told UK-based Independent that President “Essebsi is an old member of the totalitarian regime.”

Violence broke out between rival Nidaa Tounes factions at a planned leadership meeting in Hammamat, during the weekend, when a crowd blocked party members from entering the hotel. Some MPs wrote an open letter to President Essebsi in protest but declined to meet him when he invited them for a meeting. They argued that they can’t be present in the same room with those who use violence, in reference to Hafedh Caid Essebsi’s clan, the president’s son and vice-president of the party.

The state media reported that the president rejects any involvement in Nidaa Tounes’ internal affairs and political infighting and insists he continues to be neutral, not siding with any political party.

The dispute is believed to have been ignited by the issue of the replacement of President Essebsi, 88, after his mandate and the increasing influence of his son.

A fragmentation of the party will favor Ennahda because it could become the majority in the parliament with its 69 MPs.

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