Leaks about the formation of a new political party, ahead of Tunisia’s presidential elections due in autumn 2019, serve as a warning to Ennahdha movement, the political wing for Muslim Brotherhood, to rearrange its situation form the new entity especially when its founder is Youssef el-Shahed and some opponents of Hafez Essebsi, son of the current president Beji Caid Essebsi.
Despite the Brotherhood’s “conditional” support to “el-Shahed,” his withdrawal from Nidaa Tounes, a big secularist political party in Tunisia, requires new agreements. This is to ensure the prime minister’s commitment to Ennahdha movement and will not participate as a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. In order to allow Rached Ghannouchi to participate in the presidential elections of Tunisia 2019.
According to media reports published by the Tunisian press, including “el-Shrouk and el-Share’ el-Maghreb”, the Prime Minister is expected to announce in the next few days the establishment of a party called el-Nedaa al-Jadeed (The New Call) or “National Coalition”, with the help of leading figures, most notably Mahdi Ben Gharbiya. Mahmoud el-Baroudi.
El-Shahed is silent about his new party, while he, from time to time, talk about the government’s plan for economic reforms. His last speech, on October 5, started with mentions the marginalized groups and areas in Tunisia. This is to show that the he cares about marginalized people, however, observers interpreted it as an attempt to win a large voting block.
In the regard of divisions in the movement, chairman of Ennahdha Consultative Council, Abdel-Karim Harouni, said that the prime minister is required to clarify his situation, either stay in the Nidaa Tounes, leave it or form a new party, and clarify if he is going to participate in the presidency or not.
He added on Sunday that the crisis of the “Nidaa Tounes”, which is represented by 43 deputies, affected the government and the parliament. He stressed the need to solve it as soon as possible, or it may disrupt the democratic transition process.
The Tunisian scene became further complicated after the split of two currents: one headed by Ghannouchi, who supports the prime minister, and another led by Lotfi Zaitoun, the political adviser to the movement’s president.
“Ennahdha is divided over the new approach and it supports k the head of Government,” says Nizar Moukni, a Tunisian political analyst. “El-Shahed may establish a new project, but he will not be able to do so at the moment, he hasn’t completed the conditions for the formation of a political party.
He explained to the «el-Marjee» that Ennahdha put told el-Shahed not to run for elections, however, he has not answered them. Moukni stressed that the Prime Minister has political ambitions and likely to run for the presidential or legislative elections.
According to Moukni, it is possible for el-Shahed to promise not to run for president, in return for claiming an appointment as prime minister after the presidential election of 2019, especially as the powers of the Prime Minister is greater than that of the President according to the Tunisian Constitution.
Asked whether the resignation of the prime minister represents a danger to the movement, Moukni says: “Ennahdha is the first bloc in the parliament, and therefore it is the one who supports el-Shahed, not the opposite. Therefore his resignation does not represent a danger to Ghannouchi.”
The Tunisian political analyst pointed out that there is a group within Ennahadha calling for re-alignment with the President and joining all national parties which are calling for the removal of the witness, and to return to the Carthage talks and appoint a new prime minister.