Tunisia’s Party Landscape Controlled by Ennahda Party

Tunisia’s government, led by Hisham El-Mechichi, will be subject to a confidence vote by the parliament on September, 1, where it has to reach an absolute majority of votes. It is expected that the Mechichi government will obtain the votes of the parliament consisting of nine parliamentary blocs and 18 independent MPs, voting to grant confidence.

In order to gain the parliament’s confidence, the Mechichi government needs the absolute majority of votes in its favor, that is, the approval of 109 MPs out of 217, and in order to operate more comfortably, it is better to obtain more than 109 votes.

Although the date of voting is approaching, the positions of political blocs and parties are still conflicting. Some blocs have not yet decided their position towards the Mechichi government, five parliamentary blocs and one party have expressed their support to the government. The Democratic Party, the Coalition de la Dignité and the Free Constitutional Party reject it. The 18 independent MPs’ positions are still unknown. As for the Ennahda Movement, the largest bloc in parliament, having 54 MPs, its position has not been declared yet, as it is waiting for the meeting of its Shura Council.

According to Samir Dilo, a leading figure of Ennahda, the government of Hecham Mechichi is a de facto government, whose fate will be decided through a public parliamentary session. In this context, Dilo stressed that Mechichi shall present his government’s program and vision for the next phase, pointing out that Ennahda position will be decisive, as it is the first bloc in parliament with 54 MPs.

Blocs, Parties and Conditional Proposals

According to MP and leader of the People Movement, Khaled al-Qurishi, his party with 15 MPs is tending to give confidence to the Mechichi government, despite its reservations on the method of consultations.

The Heart of Tunisia bloc (27 MPs) is willing to grant confidence to Mechichi government. In this context, Osama al-Khalifi, the head of the bloc, said in media statements that his party’s support for the appointed government is to preserve state institutions and to end the phase of “Government of conflicting interests”, referring to the resigned government of Elias al-Fakhfakh.

“There is a mutual trust that is built with Mechichi, and he must be given a chance, we most likely will give him confidence,” al-Khalifi added.

The party of Tahya Tounis has decided to support the appointed government, provided that it adhere to an urgent program to limit the economic and social repercussions of the Corona pandemic, including preserving jobs and initiating major reforms.

Its party head Mustafa bin Ahmed stated that the party supports the independent government’s approach to save the country from an economic crisis, indicating that the prime minister-designate is aware that this phase is very critical and therefore his program will be based on stopping the financial and economic bleeding and adhere to the constitution. Bin Ahmed pointed out that this government is not the best, but it is the possible option to overcome the crisis.

It is expected that the blocs of al-Islah (16 seats), the National (11 seats), and the Future (9 seats) will vote for the Mechichi-appointed government. Although these blocs have not yet taken final decisions regarding the government, they have always adopted a speech that supports stability and preservation of state institutions, and they were against dismantling the parliament and holding early elections if the government is toppled.

Positions of Opposition Parties

The Free Constitutional Party (16 seats) had expressed reservations about the composition of the Mechichi-appointed government, indicating that it deviated from the course that was discussed in its meeting.

Abeer Mousa, President of the Constitutional Free Party, pointed out that this is a patronage government in the first place, as it includes some parties just to satisfy other certain parties. Mousa accused al-Mechichi of making a deal to maintain Ghannouchi’s interests in parliament.
Mousa called on Mechichi to change the ministers of justice and interior and to reconsider the decision regarding some ministers, especially the ministers of Troika.

The Democratic Stream Party (22 seats) announced its position publicly and decided not to grant confidence, pledging to exercise its oversight role as a constructive and responsible opposition party.

Since the designation of Mechichi and his government, the Al-Karama Coalition bloc expressed its rejection, as Yusri al-Daly, a leader in the Karama Coalition, confirmed in press statements that the party would not give confidence to Hecham al-Mechichi’s government.

Finally, by calculating the voters in favor of the government, we find that it will obtain 132 votes, while the votes of the three opposing blocs are 56, apart from the votes of the independent MPs. However, if the Ennahda party votes against the government, it will obtain 88 votes only, and that is the reason we say that Ennahda will decide the fate of the technocratic government.

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