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Salah Eddine al-Jorashi

Tunisia's Ennahdha grapples with Marzouki question

Ennahdha's leadership has not endorsed Marzouki [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 December, 2014

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Movement's rank and file are overwhelmingly in favour of Moncef Marzouki leading Tunisia as its new president. So why is the leadership dragging its heels?

Why have the leaders of the Ennahdha movement not clearly announced their support for Moncef Marzouki in the second round of the presidential elections?

Many Tunisians have asked this question as the country heads towards the runoff between Marzouki and Nidaa Tounes' Beji Caid Essebsi on 21 December.

The noticeable delay in revealing the party's support suggests there are still disagreements within Ennahdha over its relationship with Marzouki.

     It appears Ennahdha cannot ignore Essebsi, whose Nidaa Tounes party is the largest in parliament.


This contrasts with the rank and file: the majority voted for Marzouki when the movement decided to remain neutral in the first round of the elections.

It appears Ennahdha cannot ignore Essebsi, whose Nidaa Tounes party is the largest in parliament.

Ennahdha, the second largest political party, must change its tactics and reshuffle its cards to maintain its own interests.

MP Houcine Jaziri said Ennahdha was having a hard time deciding who it would back in the second round and stressed the new political reality must be taken into consideration.

He added that Ennahdha agreed with Nidaa Tounes on some points but that its supporters agree more with Marzkouki.

"The movement doesn't want Nidaa Tounes to sink because Tunisia will sink with it," he said.

This means that Ennahdha's leaders will likely form pragmatic relations with emerging political parties, including the Free Patriotic Union led by businessman Slim Riahi.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

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