President Moncef Marzouki’s Congress for the Republic party (CPR) announced it will postpone withdrawing its ministers from the current government by one week and outlined the terms of its continued participation in the ruling Troika coalition during a Monday press conference.
Around 100 Tunisian and international journalists attended the press conference at Hotel Africa following media reports over the weekend that CPR would leave the government.
Demands announced by CPR include the acceleration of the ongoing cabinet reshuffle; a commitment by the ruling Ennahdha party to change its politics and involve CPR in decision making and appointments; and the opening of files to document corruption both before and after the revolution.
If Ennahdha does not respond to CPR’s demands within one week, the party will withdraw the following ministers: Sihem Badi, minister of women’s affairs; Slim Ben Hmiden, minister of land and state property; and Abdelwahab Mattaar, minister of employment and vocational training.
Last week, the CPR National Council set a deadline of one week for Ennahdha to respond to the party’s demands. When that date came and Ennahdha had not acted, reports emerged Saturday that CPR would immediately withdraw from the government. But Ennahdha called an emergency meeting with CPR Sunday and promised the ruling party would respond to all demands within three days, according to Mohamed Abbou, secretary general of CPR.
These developments took place against the backdrop of an ongoing debate over Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali’s call last Wednesday to form a new government of technocrats following the assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid.
Abbou said CPR opposes Jebali’s initiative because the party worries the prime minister will appoint technocrats, who worked with the former political regime.
“Technocrats will not be efficient in dealing with Tunisia’s current problems,” Abbou said. “Ousted president Ben Ali used to work with technocrats and Beji Caid Essebsi as well, yet none of these political regimes succeeded in making reforms.”
“Creating a technocratic government will not be a magical solution to get over the country’s crisis,” he continued.
Meanwhile, members of the third branch of the Troïka, the Ettakatol party, told Tunisia Live Monday that they do not oppose Jebali’s plan.
“We are for the technocratic government, and we see that it is every patriot’s duty to support it as well,” said Mohamed Bennour, spokesperson of Ettakatol party. “We see in supporting this a way to reduce the political tension.”
Racha Haffar contributed reporting to this article.