On Friday 23 January, Tunisian PM Habib Essid announced the composition of his government; but by the weekend, it became clear that Essid’s cabinet would not survive a vote of confidence at the National Assembly. First came Ennahdha’s decision not to endorse Essid’s government because it believed that Tunisia “needs a government of national unity… and that the composition of the present government does not reflect the diversity of the Tunisian political landscape.” Ennahdha’s decision was echoed by other political parties such as the Hama Hamami’s leftist Popular Front (15 seats), Afak Tounes (8 seats), and Kamel Morjane’s Al Moubadara (Initiative) Party (3 seats). Nida Tounes with 86 seats and Slim Riahi’s Union Patriotique Libre (16 seats) would have certainly faced defeat in parliament against the opposition with Ennahadh’s 69 seats, and the votes of the Popular Front, Afak Tounes, Al Moubadar, and other independent deputies. Nidaa Tounes even faced internal division within its ranks, while some figures and deputies expressed publically their rejection of Essid’s proposed cabinet. By Sunday, the Assembly session which was scheduled for Monday to vote the cabinet was delayed and Essid had to resume consultations to reach consensus among the key political parties in the parliament on the new government. Thus, Ennahdha and the Popular Front have demonstrated that they are key players in the political arena, and that Nidaa Tounes could not ignore them. While Ennahdha is demanding a national unity government, Hamami’s Popular Front seems to be determined to stay in the opposition and not take part in a government that included Ennahdha or technocrats from the former Ben Ali regime era.


Posted by Editor