Tunisia’s leading party distances itself from guest list controversy

November 14, 2011

Al Nahda, the moderate Islamist party that won Tunisia’s elections last month has distanced itself from a brewing controversy over the list of the foreign leaders who will attend the extraordinary session of the newly-elected constituent assembly.

“Only the Speaker of the National Constituent Assembly who will be elected on November 22 has the right to invite foreign personalities to the extraordinary session of the assembly,” Nour Al Deen B’hiri, Al Nahda spokesman, said.

The 217-member assembly will convene for its inaugural session on November 22, one month after the national elections dominated by Al Nahda. The opening session will choose the Speaker who will call for an extraordinary session to launch the assembly work.

But while the opening session will be attended only by the elected members, the extraordinary session will be open to high-profile guests.

News that some Arab leaders might be among the top guests has sparked a heated debate among liberals in Tunisia about their alleged influence over Al Nahda.

“We will be honoured to have all friends of Tunisia attend the celebrations marking the first constitutional institution born out of the Tunisian revolution,” B’hiri said. “This will certainly reinforce bilateral and friendship ties.
However, Al Nahda is deeply committed to diplomatic norms and did not and will not send an invitation on behalf of Tunisia to any leader or party since such invitations are within the prerogatives of the formal authorities, namely the National Constituent Assembly,” he said.

Since its landslide victory on October 23, Al Nahda has come under heavy pressure, mainly by leftists, over its orientations and plans.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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