131 members of the Tunisian “Ennahda” movement (Islamic and democratic) announced their resignation from its structures, including historical leaders, members of the Shura Council, and middle and grassroots leaders.
The resigners attributed this step to their failure in the battle for internal reform of the movement (which has the largest parliamentary bloc of 53 out of 217), which reached the stage of isolation, according to a resignation statement.
The resigned members also held the movement “a significant amount of responsibility for what the general situation in the country has led to, in terms of reluctance to allow room for a coup against the constitution and the institutions emanating from it.”
They mean the coup against the constitution, decisions taken by the country’s president, Qais Saeed, on July 25, including freezing the powers of Parliament, lifting the immunity of its deputies, and dismissing the prime minister.
The resignation statement spoke of what he said was “the disruption of the internal democracy of the Ennahda movement and its excessive centralization within it, and the monopoly of a group of loyalists to its president within it,” in reference to Rached Ghannouchi, the movement’s president, the parliament’s suspended speaker.
The resigned also justified their withdrawal from the movement by what they considered “illogical alliances made by Ennahda, which contradicted its pledges to its voters,” and called it “wrong political choices that led to Ennahda’s isolation and failure.”
The majority of parties, including “Ennahda”, rejected Said’s exceptional decisions, and some considered them a “coup against the constitution”, while other parties supported them, seeing them as a “correction of the path”, in light of the political, economic and health crises (the Corona pandemic).
Saeed was not satisfied with these decisions. On September 22, he decided to abolish the constitutionality of laws monitoring body, issue legislation by presidential decrees, and take over the executive authority with the help of a government, which observers considered an enhancement on his part of the powers of the presidency at the expense of Parliament and the government.
In light of a severe political crisis in Tunisia, a number of Ennahda leaders, most notably Abdellatif El-Makki, Samir Delou, Mohamed Ben Salem and Jamila El-Kessi, chose to resign, expressing their commitment to “defending democracy”, in reference to their continuation in political work in one way or another. with another.
Habib Bouajila, a political analyst, told The Eastern Herald, “These resignations fall within the struggle that the movement has been experiencing for years regarding the leadership transition, meaning that the main title of these resignations is an organizational struggle.”
He continued: “There are leaders, rules and middle leaders who have long adopted the idea of leadership change, which must happen quickly within Ennahda, after a series of political failures committed by the movement, and this team summarizes the whole crisis in the quality and nature of the leadership that has run the movement for years, and sometimes Many focus on Professor Rashid Ghannouchi.”
Bouajila added: “There are parties who tried to push for their choice from within the movement’s structures, but the nature of the institution prevented it from finding an echo of its leading ideas or perceptions, and it was unable to occupy advanced positions in the decision-making authority or the leading authority within the movement.”
July 25 earthquake
According to Bouajila, “The July 25 event was not only an earthquake at the level of the country and the path of the democratic transition and the political scene in general, but it will also have repercussions even on party life, and this led to prominent cracks in the structure of Ennahda.”
And he added: “The resigned people say that we will not weaken the democratic battle in the face of the coup, and we are involved in the battle, but we cannot postpone our resignation until the political crisis in the country ends.”
Bouajila asked: “Can they build a political title of their own? This did not happen with previous leaders who were more important in their positions in terms of establishment and leadership, such as Hammadi Al-Jabali and Abdel-Hamid Al-Jelassi. , who returned to the incubator of the movement.”
He believed that “there is a real difficulty in forming a party address, even if I consider it to be an addition in the political arena, and we will have another party that represents the Islamic and democratic reference, so to speak, especially since it is known about the resigned leaders that they belong to the democratic sphere in fact.”
He considered that “the Tunisian party scene is in a state of constant formation, and I expect in the coming months that we may have a different party scene, and parties based on different premises and options may be renewed and in which the resigned leaders of Ennahda will find their place. All hypotheses are put forward.”
He continued, “The Ennahda movement faces great challenges that push it to courageous and radical revisions, whether in the level of its political line or its relationship to the country’s entitlements after the revolution of freedom and dignity, and the extent of its ability to restore its position among the people and among its voters, who have diminished and lost a large number of its electoral base, and I expect the movement after The next (general) conference will not be the same before it.”
In 2011, a popular revolution overthrew the regime of then-President Zabad El Abidine Ben Ali (1987-2011). In its wake, the 2014 constitution was drafted, which is called the “Constitution of the Revolution.”
As for Abdel-Latif El-Hanachi, professor of contemporary history at the Tunisian University, he said that “resignations in the Ennahda movement are an old phenomenon, in the past the Islamic Tendency Movement and the Islamic Group accepted it.”
Al-Hanashi added to The Eastern Herald: “We can observe the exit or resignation of a group of the so-called Islamic left, including Muhammad al-Qumani, Salah al-Din al-Jurshi and very important figures. Then it continued in 1981 and the establishment of the Islamic trend was announced. It seems that a group was somewhat Salafi and rejects the existence of a party democratic”.
And he added, “Resignations from the ranks of Ennahda continued in 1991 after the accusations against the movement in the Bab Souqa events (a terrorist attack targeting the headquarters of the ruling party at the time), and there were widespread resignations due to differences in intellectual issues and issues related to political behavior, especially after the initiative of the former regime to return some Icons from Exile”.
He described the resignations as “an old and well-known phenomenon among the parties, including parties with an Islamic reference, and now the phenomenon has taken on another dimension in the Renaissance, especially after 2019, and it has grown after the tenth conference (of the movement), and there were trends opposite to the general trend of the party.”
Regarding its reasons, Al-Hanashi said that “the reasons are summarized in two points, the first is often intellectual dimensions and disagreement about the party’s orientations, and the second is the party’s political behavior, which appeared after its tenth conference and the leadership alliance with suspicious or discredited parties, then also the duplication and contradiction of the leaders’ discourse toward these groups.”
The alternative is excluded
On the future of those who resigned from the movement, Hannashi said that “all attempts to establish an alternative party to Ennahda have failed.”
And he considered that, “It is unlikely that the resigned people will establish a new party in the short period now, and they know their size and the extent of the bases’ interaction with them, given the presence of significant historical leaders who have partisan legitimacy, such as Ali Al-Arayedh and Rashid Ghannouchi.”
In 1969, the formation of “Al-Nahda” as an advocacy movement began from a few individuals, namely Rashid Ghannouchi, a professor of philosophy returning from Syria and France at the time, Abdel-Fattah Moreau, a law student at the time, and Hamida El-Nifer, a professor of Islamic thought.
In 1972, the “Islamic Group” was founded at a meeting of 40 leaders in the Mornag suburb of Tunis, and the movement began to spread, especially among students of secondary schools and universities, until the “Islamic Tendency” movement was established as a student wing of the “Islamic Group”.
In June 1981, the “Islamic Group” announced its public existence under the name “The Islamic Tendency Movement”, and then changed its name, in February 1989, to the “Al-Nahda” movement.
About 13 leaders of the movement took over the presidency, the longest being Ghannouchi, who headed it from 1972 to 1980, then between April 1981 and July 1981, from 1984 to 1987, and from November 1991 to today.
So far, Ennahda has held 10 public conferences, most of which were held secretly in Tunisia and abroad; Because of the persecution of the movement by Nizami Habib Bourguiba (1956-1987) and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.