New Tremor in Tunisian Ennahda Movement

A new tremor hit the Tunisian Ennahda movement after 49 members of the movement’s Shura Council have signed a petition to withdraw confidence from Abdelkarim Harouni, the council’s president, who has held this position since June 2016.

The signatories, who are reformist leaders, have accused Harouni of committing unprecedented mistakes that contributed to inflaming the people against the movement. According to them, Harouni’s disastrous statements, especially those related to the “Dignity Fund” and the compensation payment to those who were subjected to grave violations of their basic rights, have provoked the Tunisians the most.

According to the petition, the signatories have demanded real reforms in Ennahda movement and shown their rejection of Harouni’s management of the Shura Council, as well as of his quest to marginalize its role within the movement’s institutions. They have criticized Harouni’s bias and his desperate defense of Rashid Ghannouchi ‘s outlooks, who is the movement’s leader.

However, Jamila Ksiksi, an official in Ennahda movemen, has denied the existence of any official petition aimed to withdraw confidence from Harouni, to say nothing of any member of the Shura Council signing on any document to withdraw confidence from him. She considers that the issue is still just a notion circulated by some members of the Shura Council.

It is notable that several officials of Ennahda movement pushed towards Harouni’s resignation from the Shura Council leadership during an exceptional meeting held on 4 August. This meetiong was due to President Kais Saied’s activation of Article 80 of the constitution that resulted in his decision to dismiss Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi from his title and to freeze Parliament’s work, with lifting the immunity of its members.

Nevertheless, Harouni’s refusal to resign and the way he dealt with the voices calling for his termination contributed to increasing the tension in the movement, especially after profound differences that were recorded over the evaluation of Saied’s decisions last July 25.  There were those who considered them a coup and those who saw them as a correction of the democratic path. The reformist leaders in the movement called on Rashid Ghannouchi and his supporters to be brave and take responsibility for what had happened by conducting a realistic diagnosis.

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