New marathon negotiations began on Thursday, the day after the government’s resignation, to find a prime minister who will gain the confidence of parliament by September. Otherwise, Tunisia will once again have to make choices.
It is a race against the clock that has just started in Tunisia. In the wake of the government’s departure of Elyes Fakhfakh under pressure from Ennahda, Republican President Kaïs Saïed must find a new prime minister.
C, and an independent academic who is widely elected in October but lacks a party, is given the daunting task of nominating a candidate within ten days. The latter will then have a month to gather a majority in a deeply fragmented parliament.
This advocates a new round of difficult talks, five months after the painstaking formation of the outgoing government.
“Kaïs Saïed is going tight,” said political scientist Slaheddine Jourchi, saying that with the failure of the Fakhfakh government, his room for maneuver has diminished. Without a more flexible approach, it could “place the country in a sensitive situation with potentially early elections”.
Ennahda pushed the government towards the exit after trying in vain to configure a coalition government within which it felt marginalized. He was allied against his will to parties that claimed, like Kaïs Saïed, the values of the revolution and leaned a little to compromise.
“We will see a transition from a coalition based on the values of the 2011 revolution to a more pragmatic position, based on political interests,” predicts Slaheddine Jourchi.
Ennahda, which has only 54 seats out of 217 despite being the main party in parliament, wants to integrate into the secular liberal party Qalb Tounes in the governing coalition of TV chief Nabil Karoui. The other parliamentary formation, Qalb Tounes, has joined forces with Ennahda after campaigning against this party.
It remains to be seen whether President Saïed, a fiercely independent hostile to party affiliations, will try to nominate a consensus candidate or take advantage of the situation to push through.
The ghost of a new resolution
“He has in his hands the greatest access to the resolution”, indicates to AFP professor of public law Slim Laghmani and estimates that he is ready to use this “stepper” while “the current blocs have a lot to lose” in new elections.
A new study shows the breakthrough of a small party that is very hostile to Islamist groups and to parties of revolutionary belief, the Free Destourian Party (PDL) of Abir Moussi, the former pillar of the Ben Ali regime.
Signs of the harmful atmosphere, a plenary that is crucial Thursday for the democratic transition, aimed at completing the establishment of a constitutional court, made pugilist between PDL and Ennahda.
If the absolute majority of the deputies do not vote for confidence in the government in time, the assembly can be dissolved. Tunisia, which organized its last election in October 2019, would then have 90 days to organize a preliminary investigation – ie at the end of 2020.
These political frictions risk exacerbating already high social tensions and weakening the security situation, at a time when the conflict in neighboring Libya is internationalizing.
Tunisia, which has successfully taken drastic measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, has been hit hard by the economic and social downturn from closing its borders.
Thousands of jobs are in the hot spot when the population is already disappointed by the lack of prospects, in a country where official unemployment exceeds 30% in some regions and among young people.
Mobilizations that have been going on for several weeks in the southern part of the country, a largely marginalized area, began again with a blow on Thursday.