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Despite failure of dialogue, Al-Nahda does not fear 'soft coup' in Tunis

February 5, 2014 at 2:11 am

In the wake of suspending the national dialogue in Tunis, head of the Islamist Al-Nahda movement Rashid Al-Ghanouchi ruled out fears of a coup in his country, Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.

The national dialogue in Tunis was suspended as the political parties had failed to reach a consensus on nominating a figure to lead the government until the completion of the transitional stage.

Al-Nahda fears that a number of the figures nominated by the opposition to lead the government are too close to the opposition. Referring to this, Al-Ghanouchi said: “It is our right to fear.”

Al-Ghanouchi explained that Al-Nahda supports Ahmed Al-Misteeri, who opposed the late president Habib Bourguiba, to lead the government, “based on his being independent, his political experience and his strife against dictatorship.”

Thus Al-Ghanouchi said that there was no reason for the opposition to object his nomination.

Regarding the other nominated figures, all of them had occupied senior positions during the previous autocratic regime.

Economic expert Jalloul Ayyad is a former financial minister, Mohamed Al-Nasser was a minister under Bourguiba, Mostafa Al-Naboly is a former minister and governor of the Central Bank, and Mansour Ma’alli is also a former minister.

Al-Ghanouchi mentioned that one compromise proposal involved Al-Misteeri heading the government and Mohamed Al-Nasser and Jalloul Ayyad taking senior ministerial positions. However, he said the opposition refused.

The Tunisian Quartet, which is supposed to be brokering the dialogue, announced late on Monday that the national dialogue would be suspended until further notice, since the discussion on nominating a new head of government had failed.

Parties that support Al-Misteeri’s nomination say that he is well known for his resistance to the occupation and his opposition for the former autocratic regime.

They refuse Al-Nasser because he was a serving minister under Bourguiba, as well as in the government of Al-Baji Qaed Al-Sibsi. Al-Nasser is also known for his opposition to the Al-Nahda movement.

On the other side, the opposition parties insist on Al-Nasser and say that Al-Misteeri is an old man who cannot spend long hours at the ministerial office.

A number of members of the Constitutional Council and political parties are refusing even the idea of national dialogue. They insist that it provides cover “for a soft coup in favour of the previous regime and against a legitimate authority.”

Supporters of the current ruling coalition expressed their refusal to overturn the “electoral legitimacy” that enabled Al-Nahda to rule the country. They said that the “counterrevolution is trying to carry out a coup similar to the one that occurred in Egypt.”