The leader of Tunisia’s main Islamist Ennahda party says agreement is imminent on a new national unity government that would include politicians as well as technocrats.
Rachid Ghannouchi expected Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali to form a coalition this week, including politicians as well as technocrats, to help resolve the political crisis precipitated by the assassination of secular opposition politician Chokri Belaid.
“A project for a political government will be presented today to the prime minister to form a team of politicians and technocrats,” Ghannouchi told Reuters.
“I expect that agreement will be reached and that Jebali will remain the prime minister of a coalition government,” he said:
Ghannouchi said “counter-revolutionaries” were still entrenched in the media, bureaucracy and elsewhere, but rejected the idea that Tunisia’s revolution was under threat.
“It goes through stages, just as a plane goes through turbulence, but it completes its journey, insh’allah.”
Ghannouchi’s comments appear to contradict comments by his own son-in-law who suggested that the Islamist party was prepared to leave office.
“Ennahda could quit power if Jebali maintains his proposal. Everything is possible. It is not inevitable for Ennahda to stay in the government,” said Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem.
“Dialogue continues. The doors are not closed,” he told the pan-Arab news channel Al-Arabiya.
The turmoil current turmoil prompted one observer to ask “why have neither the Europeans or Americans done anything much to help nurture stability in the place where all this started – Tunisia. Is it really easier to dispatch troops than to provide economic aid and to open rich western markets to nascent Arab democracies?”
He observes that Nahda mobilized its “Ligue de la Protection de la Revolution – in other words its militia” for the first time on April 9 last year to attack a labor union demonstration celebrating the anniversary of the 1938 general strike against French colonial rule.
It was only when the US embassy in Tunis was attacked in September that observers “woke up to the real nature of many supporters of Nahda and to the fact that the party’s leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, who is the true puppet master of Tunisian politics, was no “moderate,” Ghilès argues:
It is not too late for the EU and the US to issue a very blunt warning to Mr Ghannouchi to stop using violence. It is not too late for the EU and the US to press their allies Qatar and Saudi Arabia to stop sending preachers of Wahabism to a country that is moderate.