‘Early Elections’ Tops Consultations to Form New Tunisian Govt

Ennahda Movement’s Shura Council continues Sunday, for the second day in a row, its meetings in Hammamet city, northeastern Tunisia, to discuss scenarios for forming the next government.

Meanwhile, three premises have been suggested on members of the Council, which is the movement’s highest decision-making authority.

The first is joining a new government coalition that may bring it together with the Heart of Tunisia party, al-Karama Coalition, and the Future bloc or forming an opposition after calls by several political parties to exclude it from power.

The third, however, is preparing for early legislative elections if Prime Minister-designate Hichem Mechichi’s government fails to win the vote of confidence, approving to dissolve the parliament and heading to polls to create a parliamentary scene different from the current one.

Besides forming Mechichi’s government, the Shura has also been discussing several other issues. These include the current political crisis, tension prevailing in the parliament, as well as the Movement’s preparation for its next electoral conference, scheduled before the end of 2020.

Holding early elections seems to be the most probable option among political parties, indicated by statements issued by political figures that have been participating in consultations to form the new government.

Zuhair al-Maghzawi, head of People’s Movement’s party, which is part of the current government coalition, said his party prefers to head to the polls rather than joining a government that includes Ennahda.

“In case some parliamentary blocs and political parties do not give their confidence vote to Mechichi’s government, the ballot boxes will be the best solution,” he stressed.

Maghzawi further slammed Ennahda’s leaders, noting that they don’t want ruling partners but rather followers, adding that the movement wants to gain control over the state’s vital sectors and institutions, implement its project and empower its leaders.

Meanwhile, some observers considered the threat by some political parties to hold early parliamentary elections a mean used to improve the conditions for negotiations with the Premier-designate.

They said most parties are not currently ready for parliamentary elections that would reshape the whole current parliamentary scene.

In this regard, former leader in Nidaa Tounes party Ridha Belhaj said Ennahda is the only movement that was actually ready for any elections.

He criticized the parties that want to exclude Ennahda, stressing their complete inability to confront it with its current structures.

Belhaj also called for the formation of a large political party, similar to Nidaa Tounes, which defeated Ennahda in 2014 elections.

He pointed out that restoring balance to the political scene “is necessary,” adding that “confronting any political party is not done by cursing and raising slogans calling for excluding those who we disagree with.”