Tunisia's parliament to start confidence-withdrawal procedures against Ennahda's Al-Ghannouchi

Bassem Aly , Thursday 23 Jul 2020

Rached Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisia's moderate Islamist Ennahda Party attends a news conference in Tunis, September 27, 2019. (Reuters)

The Tunisian parliament said the procedures for withdrawing confidence from its speaker and the Islamist Ennahda Party's leader Rached Al-Ghannouchi will begin on Thursday.

The meeting was expected to be held on Wednesday, but it was postponed for "unknown reasons", reported Russia Today (RT) on the basis of information gained from local news sources.

Opposition MPs officially submitted a request to hold a vote of no-confidence against Al-Ghannouchi last Thursday after securing the support of 73 MPs, the number of backers required to move forward with the process.

Yet, to remove Al-Ghannouchi from his post, they need to get the votes of 109 MPs in the 217-seat parliament.

Earlier this month, parliamentary sources in Tunisia, the satellite TV channel Al-Arabiya reported, said that political forces were “fed up with Al-Ghannouchi’s suspicious moves and practices,” including his “attempt to implement the Muslim Brotherhood agenda” in Tunisia, accusing him of seeking to expand his authority by disregarding the president.

The opposition believes that a conflict of interest exists between Al-Ghannouchi’s posts as Ennahda’s leader and speaker of parliament.

The opposition includes Al-Kotla Al-Democrateya Party (40 MPs), Tahya Tounes, Al-Islah Al-Watani (15), Al-Kotla Al-Wataneya (nine) and the Free Destourian Party (17).

Tunisia is going through a political crisis between Ennahda and opposition blocs, with each taking escalatory measures against the other.

Caretaker premier Elyes Al-Fakhfakh removed all ministers of Ennahda from the coalition government last Thursday.

One day earlier, Al-Fakhfakh was still the North African country's head of government, voted for by parliament five months ago. But he earned the caretaker status after he resigned.

This followed Ennahda's announcement that it pushed for a vote of no-confidence against Al-Fakhfakh after he had decided to reshuffle the cabinet, reportedly succeeding in gathering enough votes to end his leadership of the country's coalition government.

Claiming the need for a better balance between the government and parliament, Ennahda wanted consultations over selecting a new head of government and including new political forces in the coalition government, such as Qalb Tounes Party, which Al-Fakhfakh opposed.  

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