“It’s too little, too late “, asserts Imed Hammami. The former minister and executive of the Islamic party Ennahda, majority in the Tunisian parliament, contests the dissolution on August 23 of the executive office of the party, decided by its historical leader Rached Ghannouchi, while the management team had been formed only in January. The leader of the movement says he wants “Meet the demands of the current period with the required efficiency”.
→ TO READ.Tunisia: the clean hands operation of President Kaïs Saïed
Ennahda is, in fact, on the verge of a split. Disputes over the political line to follow are growing, especially since Rached Ghannouchi said he wanted to separate from political Islam in 2016. They have intensified since the establishment of the emergency regime on July 25, when the president Kaïs Saied granted himself full powers after suspending parliament for 30 days and sacking the prime minister. Exceptional measures that he extended ” until further notice “, August 23.
Party premises were burnt down
Rached Ghannouchi, head of Parliament, immediately denounced a “coup” when other party officials, more conciliatory with President Saied, criticized the very personal management of their leader and demanded the holding of a congress and a new leadership for the party.
“We want the complete withdrawal of the figures that led to the situation of July 25, the day our premises were burnt down”, explains Imed Hammami. On the evening of the president’s announcements, crowds exasperated by ten years of calamitous management of the country had celebrated the suspension of parliament in many towns, and ransacked party offices.
But rebuilding political capital seems difficult as the resentment of Tunisians towards the party that has dominated political life since 2011 is great and the economic, social and political crisis deep.
The party lost a million votes
Between 2011 and 2019, the party lost a million votes.“Ennahda’s internal crisis, in a context of political and economic challenges, has affected its popularity”, explains Anne Wolf, a specialist in political Islam in Tunisia at the University of Oxford. According to her, 81% of Tunisians have no confidence in Rached Ghannouchi.
→ REPORT. In Tunisia, the expectation after the takeover of the president
“Young people are not listened to at all within the party”, rebels Imed Hammami, who dreams of a complete moult. “If there is no categorical solution by the end of the year, we must launch another project in accordance with our ideas”, he continues, assuring that a majority of Ennahda officials would rally.
Often accused of corruption, Ennahda is in the crosshairs of justice. This delighted part of the population, satisfied with the investigation opened in early July on potential foreign funding and party lobbying contracts.
Some of its deputies, whose immunity has been lifted, are targeted by the president’s clean hands operation. The party denounced “abusive” house arrest of its officials and lodged appeals.