By Asma Ghribi | Feb 6 2012Al Aridha Chaabiya , Arab Muslim identity , Aridha Chaabia , Hashmi Hamdi , Ibrahim Kassas ,
Hechmi Hamdi, founder of The Popular Petition for Freedom, Justice, and Development (Al Aridha Chaabia) – a political movement and electoral list that won 26 seats in National Constituent Assembly – has been elected on Saturday February 4thÂ as Secretary General of the Party of Progressive Conservatives (PPC) after the resignation of its former Secretary General, Hadhri Mahmoud, due to health-related issues.
â€œDr. Hechmi Hamdi won an overwhelming majority in the election of PPCâ€™s political board,â€ declared Ibrahim Kassas, a prominent figure within the Popular Petition and a member of the Constituent Assembly.
The PPC, which was licensed as a political party on July 15th,Â 2011, Â is part of an initiative started by the Popular Petition. â€œThe popular petition is a popular movement and an electoral list that participated in the election. We created this party as a legal umbrella for our supporters and activists and also for future rallies and meetings,â€ explained Hamdi.
Hamdi, currently residing in London, stated that this party has, â€œexactly the same program,â€ as the Popular Petition. The organization’s platform encompasses three main pillars: founding a democratic constitution, adopting a free health care system, and providing grants to the unemployed.
In spite of the two seemingly incongruous notions – conservatism and progressivism – expressed in the title of the party, Hamdi asserted that his organization embodies both of these ideals simultaneously.
â€œIt is conservative because it belongs to the Islamist orientation, advocating for the preservation of the Arab-Muslim identity. It is progressive because it adopts the leftist vision of the welfare state,â€ explains Hamdi.
â€œWe hope that Tunisian people will find in our party a comfortable leftist solution,â€ said Hamdi, who asserted that his party is an extension of the same movement that led Tunisia to independence from French colonization. â€œIt is a national social Islamist alternative,â€ he added.
Though nothing is confirmed, Hamdi announced that the PPC is evaluating the potential for creating coalitions with parties he sees as ideologically compatible – such as the Progressive Democratic Party and Unionist Democratic Union.
â€œWe are still studying the potential alliances. However, the feedback that I received from PPC supporters conveyed that they want to us toÂ runÂ independently for the upcoming election under PPC. They expect a sweeping victory because we are the alternative,â€ concluded Hamdi.