Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi (Photo: Reuters)
A recent poll conducted in Tunisia indicates that secular party Nidaa Tounes is likely to defeat the Islamist Ennahda Party in the next municipal elections, set for on December 17, according to polling agency SIGMA Conseil as reported by Tunisia's Al-Maghreb newspaper.
According to the poll, Nidaa Tounes is expected to win 37 percent of the votes, while Ennahda and the leftist Popular Front are expected to receive 26.4 percent and 7.6 percent of the votes respectively.
The Mashrou Tounes Party, which split from Nidaa Tounes in January 2016 under the leadership of party member Mohsen Marzouk, is expected to win only 2.8 percent of the votes. Al-Badil Al-Tounesi Party, led by former premier Mahdy Gomaa, will likely be backed by 1 percent of the voters.
After Mashrou Tounes split from Nidaa Tounes due to internal divisions, taking with it 22 Nidaa MPs, Nidaa Tounes lost its parliamentary majority, allowing Ennahda to become the largest group in parliament.
According to the same poll, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi of Nidaa Tounes is expected to earn 20.4 percent of the votes during the 2019 presidential elections. Prime Minister Yousef Al-Shahid, if he runs for president, will likely come in second with 18.3 percent of the votes
Rachid Ghannouchi, Ennahda's leader, called on Al-Shahid not to run for election and concentrate on putting in place the necessary arrangements for the municipal elections and solving the country's economic crisis, a statement that was met with criticism from Nidaa Tounes and other political parties, as well as the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT).