Tunisian party freezes crucial talks to demand explanations

November 16, 2011

A Tunisian party has suspended its participation in crucial tripartite negotiations to form a coalition government and choose a president for the North African country.

“There are some points of concern with our partners in the coalition talks,” Lobna Jeribi a member of Ettakatol -Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties- Party, said.

“We will not be able to continue our talks to form the upcoming government unless some issues are clarified,” said Lobna, who won a seat in the October 23 elections for a constituent assembly on an Ettakatol ticket.

The party came fourth with 20 seats in the polls dominated by Al Nahda, the moderate Islamist party, but has been involved in the negotiations with the winners and the Congress for the Republic, the first runner up, for the coalition government and the president.

Al Nahda said that it would take the position of prime minister on the merit of having won 89 of the assembly’s 217 seats, more than triple the Congress for the Republic, but left it to the Congress and Ettakatol to decide on the name of the president and assembly speaker.

The decision by the centre-left party to freeze its participation is attributed to a statement issued by the Congress claiming that Monsef Marzouki, its party leader, would be the next president.

Ettakatol also sought clarifications from Al Nahda after Hamadi Jebali, its secretary general, allegedly talked about a new era in Tunisia that would represent a step towards the Sixth Caliphate, in reference to the historic system of Islamic rule.

The alleged statement has sparked an intense debate in Tunisia about the governance objectives of Al Nahda, the movement banned for three decades and allowed to operate officially only in March.

However, Jebali, poised to become Tunisia’s next prime minister, said that the statement was taken out of its context and that he was referring to the principles of justice, honesty, freedom and loyalty.

“Al Nahda has opted for a democratic and republican regime based on the legitimacy of the people,” he said.





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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