There are several “active” political actors in the Tunisian scene who are turning a blind eye to the recent protests against a controversial law stipulating gender equality in inheritance.
Leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Rashid al-Ghannushi is currently promoting for his party, which represents the Muslim Brotherhood, through several foreign tours.
During his participation at the 4th annual Mediterranean Dialogues Conference (MED), which kicked off Thursday in Rome, Italy, Ghannushi delivered a lecture under the title “The New Islamic Identity: Politics, Science, Culture in a Multi-World,” and promoted to Ennahda by stressing that he believes in promoting the rights of women, the protection of their gains and the protection of the rights of minorities.
As he delivered his speech, Ghannushi referred to the political turmoil between Islamists in Tunisia and other parties, especially in the Parliament. He also pointed out that the Tunisian constitution is based on principles of democracy, freedom, equality and public rights.
He added that some political parties and authorities still would not recognize his party as they consider it a “security file” and not a “political party.” These words contradict several cases revealed by the Tunisian judiciary and direct accusations that the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia are behind the assignation of opposition figures such as Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi.
As he spoke about the “new Islamic identity”, Ghannushi referred to Ennahda as an example to an “Islamic movement that has not changed its reference”, then he tried to clean the reputation of the movement by claiming its respect to equality and democracy.
But as Ghannushi remained silent regarding the inheritance draft law, Parliament member for Ennahda Party Moez Belhaj Rhouma severely criticized the cabinet’s approval to the law as he posted on Twitter that this law is “catastrophic.”
Tunisian political analyst Nizar Makni told The Reference in an interview that Ennahda is currently trying to “invest in the political scene” through these actions. “The party even agreed to the IMF agreement in Tunisia despite that it led to an economic and social crisis, which resulted the latest workers strike.”
Hundreds of thousands of Tunisian public-sector workers walked off the job Thursday after failing to wrest a wage increase from the cash-strapped government.
About 670,000 people, or near 6 percent of the North African country’s population, were expected to observe the day-long strike called by the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT).
The Tunisian government is under pressure to cut public spending as part of an economic reform plan agreed with the International Monetary Fund in return for a staggered $2.9 billion loan. Meanwhile, it is battling the fastest inflation rate in years following a depreciation in the currency and pay increases negotiated for the public sector in 2015.
As for the inheritance law, Makni clarified that Ghannushi’s speech also contradicted the party’s stand on the inheritance law, which forced Essebsi to amend his proposal and make inheritance equality optional and not mandatory.
He also affirmed that the party is attempting to prove that it is not a Muslim Brotherhood organization and that it supports democracy through these foreign tours to reserve a place within the ruling authority.