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Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Who is the Nidaa Tounes Party?

The secular party, which includes members of the old regime, will be tasked with forming the new cabinet

Alia Soliman , Monday 27 Oct 2014
Beji Caid Essebsi,
Beji Caid Essebsi, the head of Nidaa Tounes party (Photo: Reuters)
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Leading Tunisian secular party Nidaa Tounes has won more than 80 seats in an election that took place on Sunday for the new 217-member parliament, according to a preliminary ballot count released on Monday.

Nidaa Tounis was founded in January 2012 by Beji Caid El-Sebsi after the 2011 uprising which toppled former dictator Ben Ali.

The party combines former members of ousted president Ben Ali's Constitutional Democratic Rally, secular leftists, progressive liberals and Destourians (followers of Tunisia's "founder" Habib Bourguiba).

Nidaa's inclusion of some Ben Ali associates was criticised by some as providing a back door to symbols of the old regime to return to political life.

The party, which describes itself as a "reformist" and "modernist" party, will form the new cabinet according to the recently-approved constitution.

Yet it will have to form an alliance with other parties to secure a parliamentary majority.

In an interview with BBC on Monday after announcing the preliminary results, El-Sebsi said that the party will decide on its alliances once the official results are announced, or once presidential elections take place.

Earlier this month, El-Sebsi – who served as Tunisia's prime minister during the transitional phase after the 2011 uprising – criticised the Islamist party Ennahda of belittling or undermining Nidaa's candidates.

Turkey's Anadlous news agency has so far put the preliminary vote count at 83 seats for Nidaa Tounes (38.24 percent) and 68 seats for Ennahda (31.33 percent) in the 217-seat assembly.

El-Sebsi has also criticised Ennahda for being irrelevant to Tunisia, claiming Islamists are not democratic.

But he also stressed that his party does not aim to exclude Ennahda or any other political party from the coalition.

"We accept the voices of everyone," El-Sebsi said.

 
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