The ruling Ennahdha party refused to sign a charter governing good political conduct that was approved by 27 other parties during a meeting held yesterday by the Arab Institute of Human Rights, Tunisia’s journalism school (IPSI), German Institute “Konrad Adenauer,” and the European Union.
Zoubeir Chehoudi, a member of Ennahdha’s Shura Council, told Tunisia Live that his party has some reservations about several articles in the charter but is willing to engage in further discussions.
“They want to depoliticize mosques and schools. What about unions?” he asked. “I don’t understand their refusal to depoliticize unions.”
Mouldi el Fehem, whose opposition Al Joumhouri party signed the charter, highlighted its importance in organizing political activities and interactions among parties in a democratic way.
“We refuse violence, and our country is seriously threatened by it,” he said.
El Fehem also explained that the charter organizes ways in which political parties deal with each other and respect fair competition under the rules of a democratic state.
He criticized Ennahdha’s hesitance to make mosques politically neutral, even though they have become “a nest for Salafis to promote extremist concepts such as Jihad.”
El Fehem expressed surprise over Ennahdha’s demand to depoliticize unions saying that the UGTT, the country’s main labor union, does not have any political affiliation and speaks for workers, not political opposition parties. The UGTT’s historical role has always been to support the state when it has been weakened and to look after the country’s national interests, he said.
“Tunisians are peaceful, and violence is new to our culture,” he said. “Ennahdha should be held responsible for this if more violent incidents occur.”