More than 100 Tunisia’s Leading Islamist Party Officials Resigned as a Form of Protest

More than 100 officials of the Tunisian Islamist Party, Ennahdha, announced their resignation on Saturday (25/9) to protest the movement’s choice of leadership in the face of the North African country’s political crisis.

The split within Ennahdha’s ranks comes amid a deep political crisis in Tunisia. In July, President Kaïs Saied decided to fire the country’s prime minister, suspend parliament and assume executive authority, citing a national emergency. His critics called his actions a coup.

In a statement released Saturday, 113 Ennahdha Party officials, including members of the legislature and former ministers, said they had resigned.

“This is a definitive and irrevocable decision,” Samir Dilou, a legislator from the Ennahdha Party and former minister (2011-2014), told The Associated Press.

Dilou said the decision to resign was related to the “impossibility of reforming the party from within” because the decision was made by the party’s chairman, Rachid Ghannouchi, and his entourage. He also noted that Ennahdha, the largest party in parliament, had failed to counter Saied’s actions.

Earlier this week, Saied issued a presidential decree reinforcing the powers he had almost entirely given himself two months ago.

The decree includes the continuation of the suspension of parliamentary powers, the suspension of immunity of all members of the legislature from prosecution, as well as a freeze on the salaries of MPs.

They also stated that Saied’s intention from now on was to rule the country by using presidential decrees only and ignoring parts of the constitution. Legislation will not go through parliament, whose powers he freezes, and gives him almost unlimited powers.

Saied said his decision in July was needed to save the country amid unrest over finances and the government’s handling of Tunisia’s coronavirus crisis. [rd/ft]

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