According to the events one witnesses in political life, you might realize that logic is not always the case. The alliance between two oppositional blocs, the Heart of Tunisia Party (Qalb Tounes) and the Renaissance Movement (Ennahda) is an example and it confirms that once again politicians have their own logic. Moreover, the obligations of politics often lead to what the public does not generally accept, not even the educated elites, who bet that things always go as they are planned. Nevertheless, what the politicians do not recognize is that if these alliances do not represent the interests of the public, then its fall seems inevitable, its survival is just temporary. This brings to mind the election campaigns of the two parties that were based somehow on their rejection of each other, and because of this approach, the lineups of the public and media with each party have been deepened.
There is no doubt that the alliance between Ennahda and Qalb Tounes is dictated by the shifting Tunisian political landscape. However, it has disappointed many Tunisians, whether supporters of the first or second party. This alliance has become a reality, but not permanent. Where it started to emerge from the first moments following the legislative elections, where the representatives of Qalb Tounes and Ennahda, along with the Dignity Coalition voted in favor of Rached Ghannouchi to become the president of the new parliament. Other events followed, and the last and most prominent was the dropping of the no-confidence list regarding Ghannouchi.
The current scene is very close to the 2014 elections, which was mainly marked by the contradiction between Nidaa Tounes, founded by the late President Beji Caid Essebsi, and Ennahda, where the two parties showed differences in their political programs, visions and ideas. However, they soon chose to ally after the well-observed meeting between their two leaders. Therefore, Tunisia continued with the same approach of the pact between Ennahda and Nidaa. Thus, history repeats itself.
After that, Ennahda has chosen to follow a different direction, which led to an alliance with yesterday’s rival, Qalb Tounes and with the Dignity Coalition for the Parliament Presidency. Moreover, the alliance began to be clearly embodied through many major events and important sessions, the last of which was in the vote on the withdrawal of confidence from the President of Parliament and Ennahda movement, Rached Ghannouchi.
The convergence between Ennahda and Qalb Tounes
In this regard, Ennahda MP Mohamed Goumani says that the convergence between the two parties started from the inaugural session of the current parliament to choose its president and two deputies. Qalb Tounes and the Dignity Coalition voted for the side of Ennahda by choosing Rached Ghannouchi as president, and Ennahda voted to choose Samira Chaouachi from Qalb Tounes as deputy speaker of the Parliament. This indicates that their relationship has continued and time has proven that it is a rapprochement, more than divergence.
Moreover, Goumani said that many wagered on the disengagement, trying to create tensions between the two parties, especially when Ennahda participated in the government of Elyes Fakhfakh and Qalb Tounes was excluded, claiming that Ennahda had stakes in both the government and in the opposition. Goumani considered that the maneuvers had failed, while the parliamentary convergence between Ennahda, Qalb Tounes, and the Dignity Coalition has strengthened. He added that the rapprochement showed in dropping the lists that aim at confusing the parliament, including the list of the Head of the Free Constitutional party, Abir Moussi, about the so-called rejection of external interference in Libya. He also mentioned that all parliamentary events have strengthened the convergence between the two parties in the legislative elections.
The alliance between Ennahda and Qalb Tounes is old, and it is a strategic parliamentary alliance imposed by common interest between the two parties, where no one can deny that Qalb Tounes has led Ghannouchi to the presidency of Parliament and has helped him to stay in office too. According to the available sources, it is expected that this alliance will continue, especially if the anti-Qalb Tounes rhetoric remains active, where Ennahda is almost the only party that has changed its rhetoric and stance towards Qalb Tounes, while the rest of the parties maintained their hostility to it that mostly reflects on the revolutionary tendency in their speeches. As such, the head of Qalb Tounes, Nabil Karoui, is protecting Ennahda, as it is a safety valve for him, hence he will not give up his strategic alliance with it, while Ennahda needs this parliamentary bloc and the largest possible number of representatives, and thus the interest is mutual.
Nevertheless, what may strike this alliance are the possible resignations from Qalb Tounes, rejecting the party’s vote with the decision to retain Ghannouchi in the presidency of Parliament, besides the rapprochement with Ennahda. However, in the long term, this alliance is likely to continue, but by virtue of hostility to others and not by virtue of its strength, and substantiality.
A hybrid and doubtful alliance
In conclusion, it is common sense to say that politics is based on rules, the most important of which is that there are neither lasting friendships nor permanent enmities. Moreover, what actually counts is the real achievements on the ground, given that it is the art of creating concords, settlements, and common interests between opponents. Hence, all parties have the right to change their positions according to the political situation, which is what pragmatism demands. However, when it is a surprising and a 180-degree change, from a direct enmity to an alliance, then it cannot be anything but a suspicious and hybrid alliance! Moreover, this change is moved by the common concerns in opening corruption cases associated with Nabil Karoui and the terrorism accusations against Ennahda and its chairman, Rached Ghannouchi.
It is said that the relationship between Ghannouchi and Nabil Karoui is considered strategic. However, this relationship is questioning, as it is a parliamentary alliance, aiming to ouster the government of Elyes Fakhfakh and to oppose President Kais Saied. Both parties have the same vision in initiating the government consultations with the designated Prime Minister, Hichem Mechichi, according to Noureddine Bhiri, head of Ennahda Movement bloc. Moreover, this vision reflects the extent of the mutual interests between the Brotherhood and Karoui.
A short-term reconciliation
Obviously, Qalb Tounes has allied with Ennahda in search of judicial protection and benefits from the influence of Rached Ghannouchi in some jurisdictions.
However, Karoui did not realize that he chose political suicide by his rapprochement with Ennahda, which precipitated the resignation of 12 deputies from his parliamentary bloc. Perhaps, the series of resignations will follow in the coming days after Karoui refused the decision of no confidence in Rached Ghannouchi.
Furthermore, Qalb Tounes MP Lilia Bellil resigned as a reaction to the rapprochement of Ennahda and Qalb Tounes, following the fall of the list of no confidence in Rached Ghannouchi’s presidency of the Tunisian parliament on last July 30. Moreover, Qalb Tounes party, which won 38 seats, gradually began to fade away after the dismissal of its prominent leaders, such as writer Abdelaziz Belkhodja and Representative Hatem Mliki, in addition to losing the first seats in opinion polls. This means that Tunisia faces important dues that may change its political equations and temporary alliances.