Ennahda to vote against new Tunisian government

Islamist party and leftist Popular Front not convinced by make-up of prime minister-designate Habib Essid's cabinet.

    Essid said he had formed the cabinet of the new government without appointing any members of Ennahda [Reuters]
    Essid said he had formed the cabinet of the new government without appointing any members of Ennahda [Reuters]

    Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party has said it will reject a government proposed by prime minister-designate Habib Essid.

    Parliament will vote this week to confirm a new cabinet that must tackle economic reforms and fighting groups to consolidate Tunisia's young democracy after its 2011 uprising against Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

    Last week, Essid said he had formed the cabinet without appointing any members of Ennahda, which has the second highest number of seats in the parliament behind the ruling Nidaa Tounes party.

    But Ennahda on Sunday said it rejected the new cabinet.

    “The country needs a government of national union and consensus to make the necessary reforms and realise the objectives of the revolution” said Fathi Ayadi of the Islamist Ennahda Party, explaining its position.

    Complicating matters further, the leftist Popular Front party also told Al Jazeera on Sunday that it would not vote for the cabinet, saying its members had reservations about some government members with links to the former regime.

    One of the most secular countries in the Arab world, Tunisia has been praised for its peaceful democratic transition in an otherwise volatile region, with free elections and a new constitution four years after Ben Ali's overthrow.

    Since that uprising, Tunisian politics has often been dominated by compromises between secular and Islamist leaders to help keep democratisation on track after a series of deadlocks threatened to overturn its transition.

    Nidaa Tounes won a parliamentary election in October and party leader Beji Caid Essebsi, a former Ben Ali official, also won the presidency in a second-round run off.

    In the 217-seat parliament, Nidaa Tounes holds 86 and have some backing from the liberal, secular UPL party, which has 16 seats. 

    Ennhada, which says it is open to a unity government with Nidaa Tounes to improve stability, has 69 seats in the assembly and Popular Front have 15 members.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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