By Farah Samti | Dec 19 2011Arguments , coalition , Conflicts , government , interim ,
The outcome of the first round of meetingsÂ at the Constitutional AssemblyÂ has resulted inÂ an outbreak of internal conflicts within two of the three parties in Tunisia’sÂ politicalÂ ”Troika” (Ettakatol, Congress for the Republic, and Ennahda) -Â Congress for the Republic (CPR) and Ettakatol. These disputes threaten the stability of the coalition government at a time whenÂ reforms must be implementedÂ to address aÂ bleeding Tunisian economy;Â more than 800 thousandÂ Tunisians are out of work.
Members of Ettakatol say the party is deviating from its original goals and principles. The dissatisfaction comes after the adoption ofÂ a lawÂ guaranteeing the separation ofÂ the judicial, legislative, andÂ executive branches of the government during the transitional period.
According to Al Maghreb newspaper, the staff of the Ariana office of Ettakatol submitted their collective resignations. These resignations indicateÂ a disconnect between the leadership of the party and the rest of the members, resulting fromÂ their exclusionÂ from the inner circles of decision makings.
Lobna Jeribi, a representative of Ettakatol in the Constituent Assembly, describes this as an unnecessary fuss aboutÂ common internal problems foundÂ within all democratic parties. She claims that the media and other parties are exaggerating the extent of the divide and that only two members representing the Ariana district resigned.
“Internal divisions were temporary and they do not have any impact on relations within the coalition,”Â Jeribi said.
The conflict within CPRÂ hasÂ received attention liveÂ on television. Abdelraouf Ayedi andÂ Taher Hmila, prominent leaders of the party and members of the Constituent Assembly,Â levied accusations at one another during a live broadcast. They both aspire to be the successors of Marzouki in the party, each claiming they should hold the secretary general position.
Party members are split between competing loyalties to the two figures.Â TheÂ composition of the cabinet for the interim government is another area of deep contention within CPR. Â Mohamed Abbou, a prominent figure of the party, said,Â ”The conflicts are only internal. They will be solved by next weekÂ by reachingÂ aÂ consensusÂ among all members ofÂ CPR.” Abbou believes that disagreements within the CPR will not have an impact on the “Troika”.
“Positions in the new interim government are already designated. Relations within the coalition will not be affected,” he asserted.
These scuffles representÂ the first real test of enduranceÂ for the newly born political parties. So far, only Ennahdha seems to have healthy framework for decision-making, which has beenÂ attractiveÂ to politically independent individuals.
On December 17th, Abdelfatah Mourou publicly addressed Rached Ghannouchi as the President of his movement. PM Hamadi Jebali delayed, then canceled a meeting with President Marzouki, and the final approval of the coalition ministers is set for Thursday. In the meantime, Tunisians continue to hold onto theÂ six month political and socialÂ truce Marzouki hasÂ called for,Â in spite ofÂ the arrival of a particularlyÂ harsh winter.