The head of the Renaissance Party in Tunisia’s governing coalition, Rachid Al-Ghanouchi, considers what is happening in Egypt including the dismissal of the former President Mohammad Morsi a “democratic failure.” Al-Ghanouchi ruled out the possibility of this happening in Tunisia because his country has reached a national consensus through continued discussions.
Al-Ghanouchi believes that the political crisis in Egypt was “born out of the rebellion against political legitimacy and through the exploitation of the difficulties and mistakes of the former administration. It is the opposition’s job to correct these mistakes and not to reject the will of the people, which was expressed in free and fair elections and the results of which everyone initially agreed upon. The problem lies in the failure of democracy and the failure of the Egyptian modernist elite to meet the requirements of that democracy.”
Al-Ghanouchi continued: “There is now this stubborn insistence on redefining the meaning of democracy and redefining legitimacy based on the belief that true democratic legitimacy cannot be achieved by voting at the polls but through movement on the streets.” This statement was made in reference to those who were in favour of overthrowing Morsi, and as a result, believe that they can accomplish their goals by demonstrating in the streets.
Al-Ghanouchi stressed that adopting this logic would lead to the end of democracy. Following this trend gives every person who lost the election the right to mobilize a demonstration in the streets in order to gain legitimacy. He pointed out that the street diverges into many streets and paths, and just as there are often streets facing other streets, there are political ideologies that can differ from one another. All of these ideologies have a place in Tahrir just as more than one street can face Tahrir Square. There are many paths but the solution is not the military. The solution is to return to the ballot box.
Al-Ghanouchi stressed that “The solution is to return to the point of origin. The source of legitimacy is the people” adding that “One cannot make a generalization by saying that thirty million people came out to demonstrate on June 30th. This is not solid evidence because another camp that is much larger than thirty million in number could make the argument that they came out to demonstrate as well.”
In regards to speculation that Tunisia would act as a mediator in the Egyptian crisis, Al-Ghanouchi said: “Overall, Tunisia and President Moncef Marzouki attempted to help in the beginning by looking for a way out of the crisis.” He continued to say that in this way, the Renaissance party is undergoing plans to mediate and will announce the details when the time comes. “A Tunisian intervention is wanted by more than one end, both Egyptian and international. We are hoping to find a way out of the crisis because it has disastrous implications not only on Egypt but on the Arab spring and the Tunisian spring, which have both been successful so far.”