30 October 2011 7:24 pm | | 13

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Hachmi Hamdi

Hachmi Hamdi, the leader of the party Aridha Chaabia, has been the center of attention during the past few days due to his controversial announcements and decisions.

After winning 25 seats in the Constituent Assembly, and then losing 6 of them, Tunisian newspapers had to write about the man who surprised most Tunisians and shocked competing parties and lists.

Chourouk’s article about Hamdi today was entitled “Hamdi again on Hannibal TV: calming down..flirting..and fawning”. The article wrote that the leader of Al Aridha “continues to surprise the political scene” with his unexpected decisions. He decided to withdraw his lists, and anticipated violent reactions in his hometown Sidi Bouzid. Such an anticipation “was interpreted as an indirect incitement of protests” that happened following his announcement.

Chourouk briefely discussed Hamdi’s complicated relationship with Ennahda. “Despite Jebali’s indifference to Hamdi’s first attempt of reconciliation, Hamdi tried again with Samir Dilo… He went as far as asking for forgiveness” even though he did not demand an apology in return from Ennahda. He even called Ennahda his “second home”.

In the same article, different responses to Hamdi’s success in the election were addressed. While Dilo “responded positively to Hamdi and greeted him back showing forgiveness”, Mohsen Marzouk’s comment was harsh as he was surprised by “Hamdi’s fawning of the ex-regime and now Ennahda… One might wonder on whom he is going to fawn next.”

La Presse was attacking Hechmi Hamdi in a more direct way. “Serial turncoat” is the title of the article categorized under “Profile of Hechmi Hamdi”.

“Trouble, more than controversial, perceived like a messiah by thousands of people notably those of Sidi Bouzid, called by different names by lawyers and heads of parties and lists” is how La Presse described the leader of Al Aridha.

The writer questioned Hamdi’s reasons behind his “incoherent and puzzling career”, suggesting that his “fascination by power and fierce need to stay under the spot” are what keep him go on “and exhaust all of his cards on different media channels”.

This criticism was followed by a detailed biography of Hechmi Hamdi that also dealt with his controversial history with Ennahda. Another part of the article was about his “suspicious” relations with the former regime and asked: “Is Hechmi Hamdi a double agent?”

As the future of Al Aridha Chaabia remains partially unknown for now, Hechmi Hamdi will probably stay on the spot at least until ISIE’s final decisions about the appeals in two weeks.

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