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Tunisia: Does Moro-Brahmi kiss signal warming relations? Open in fullscreen

Salah Eddine al-Jorashi

Tunisia: Does Moro-Brahmi kiss signal warming relations?

Moro's kindness was well received by Brahimi [Fadl Sina/AFP]

Date of publication: 7 December, 2014

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Many have taken the kiss and Moro's kind words to indicate the possibility of alliance between Ennahdha and the Popular Front, but it may still be too soon.

Abdel Fattah Moro, the deputy head of Tunisia's Ennahdha party, took onlookers by surprise when he recently kissed Popular Front MP Moubaraka al-Brahimi on the forehead, declaring her a hugely important figure in parliament.

Brahimi is the widow of Mohammad al-Brahimi, the Tunisian politician assassinated in July last year.

Onlookers applauded, and commentators regarded it as a favourable portent. Moro's move goes beyond the merely moral, highlighting values of tolerance and respect for a woman in politics and a widow.

At the very least, Popular Front members believe Ennahdha morally responsible for Belaid's assassination.

Looking back, the ideological and political struggle between Islamists and left-wing groups has marked their relationship since the present generation of politicians were in university in the 1980s. On occasion, this relationship even turned violent.

However, the relationship between Ennahdha and the Tunisian Workers' Communist Party, headed by Hama al-Hamami, has improved over time. The two groups formed the so called "18 October Coalition for Rights and Freedoms in Tunisia" against the regime of long-term ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Belaid's assassination

Following the Tunisian revolution, the relationship between both groups was normal, but with the assassination of Shoukri Belaid, the Popular Front leader behind the party's success, the relationship grew cold.

Ennahdha condemned the assassination and considered it a crime against the homeland and the revolution. However, the differences that had emerged between Belaid and Ennahdha, and the tension in his relationship with Ali al-Aridi at the time, made Popular Front members believe Ennahdha was behind the assassination.

At the very least, they held Ennahdha morally responsible for the deed.

Despite the information on the assassination provided by the security forces and the testimony of those arrested, many in the front still believe the truth has not been told about the crime.

Thus, though Morro's gesture may be symbolic, a polite mark of respect, it will probably not be enough in and of itself to end the conflict between Ennahdha and the Popular Front. The only way to do that would be to resolve the political tension between the two parties over the assassination of Belaid, in a way that alleviates everyone's concerns.

Ennahdha believes this issue has been used politically against it, and considers the matter to have been resolved. However, this issue will not go away until a full and public account has been given. Declaring the issue a red line, the left-wing alliance has insisted it would not participate in any government that contained Ennahdha.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic website.

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