Tunisia’s shock polls scorer freezes political activities

November 21, 2011

Hachemi Hamdi

Mohammad Hachemi Hamdi, the Tunisian outsider who stunned the nation and analysts by leading his little-known movement to the third position in last month’s national elections for a constituent assembly, said that he was “freezing” his political activities.

He attributed the decision he announced on his London-based Al Mustaqilla TV to the “hate and exclusion” campaign that targeted him personally and the Popular Petition for Freedom, Justice and Development, the movement he founded after the toppling of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the president who left Tunisia in January.

The announcement made on Sunday evening came hours ahead of the opening session of the 217-seat constituent assembly elected in the country’s first true multi-party elections and in which his movement secured 26 seats, behind unassailable leaders Al Nahda, the moderate Islamist party, but close to the Congress for the Republic with 29 seats.

The Petition was well ahead of all other well-established parties, including Ettakatol, 20 seats, and the Progressive Democratic Party, 16.

The assembly is scheduled to elect on Tuesday a speaker and the head of the new government and to decide on the name of the next president.

Reports from Tunis concur that Hamadi Jebali, the secretary general of Al Nahda, will be the prime minister, while Moncef Marzouki, the leader of the Congress for the Republic, will be the president and Mustafa Ben Jaafar, the leader of Ettakatol, will be the speaker of the assembly under an agreement between the three parties.

However, Hamdi whose movement was dodged throughout the negotiations on suspicions of shady links with former members of the RCD, the now defunct party of Ben Ali, said that the assembly had no political or moral legitimacy after it ignored his movement.

However, he said that he did not ask any of the movement members elected to the assembly to pull out or to express their solidarity with him.

Al Nahda has ruled out working with Hamdi who was very close to the Islamist movement in the 1980s before he fled Tunisia to England during the trial of its members. He helped run his movement’s campaign from the British capital and has not returned home even after the results were announced.





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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