Nidaa Tounes 'to include Ennhadha in Tunisian cabinet'

Nidaa Tounes 'to include Ennhadha in Tunisian cabinet'
Sources tell al-Araby al-Jadeed that president Beji Caid Essebsi has stepped in to decide internal Nidaa Tounes dispute on allowing Islamists in government.
2 min read
31 January, 2015
Beji Caid Essebsi was involved in the decision, sources say [Getty]

Nidaa Tounes will include members of Ennahdha in cabinet after an intervention by the country's president, sources within Nidaa Tounes have told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

The sources said Beji Caid Essebsi stepped in to ensure the participation of Ennhadha and also mandated the inclusion of Afek Tounes and the Free Patriotic Union party of Slim Riahi.

Parliament is scheduled to convene on Wednesday to confirm the cabinet, one day before the constitutional deadline expires. Nidaa Tounes is holding a meeting on Saturday to discuss the lineup.

According to sources, Ennahdha will be represented by at least two ministers, two ministers of state, and possibly a minister who would serve as an adviser to the prime minister.

The sources said an agreement was reached shortly after Nidaa Tounes leaders decided in favour of Ennahdha participation, a move supported by Nidaa Tounes' "constitutional wing" but opposed by its left wing.

     Leading figures from these two wings are communicating 'from a distance', according to the sources.

The dispute suggests a crisis within Nidaa Tounes, with a bloc known as the "constitutional wing" wanting Ennahdha involvement in government and the "left wing" wanting to uphold the party's anti-Ennahdha electoral platform.

Leading figures from these two wings are communicating "from a distance", according to the sources, again reflecting fundamental disagreements within the party.

source said the Saturday meeting was expected to be "heated", and could push the divisions into public. However, others have said the disagreements were normal and to be expected, especially in a fledgling party that has yet to convene its first general conference.

A senior leader in Ennahdha told al-Araby that his party was the second largest in parliament, but only asked to have a respectable representation in government.

This is an edited translation of the original Arabic.