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MP resignations lead Ennhada to gain majority in Tunisian parliament

Tunisia’s Islamist party Ennhada yesterday became the largest parliamentary force in the country after the resignation of 32 Member of Parliament from the ruling party Nidaa Tounis party.

Ennhada now occupies 67 seats in parliament while Nidaa Tounis now holds 54 seats.

The Nidaa Tounis MPs resigned yesterday from the party’s bloc after an escalation of internal divisions plaguing the party. The internal turmoil within the bloc turned violent this month as MPs used sticks and batons during a party meeting in Hammamet.

Hafiz Kaed Essebsi, the son of the country’s president, seeks to play a greater role in the party by trying to restructuring it, while Mohsen Marzouk, the party’s secretary-general, heads the other opposition camp.

Hassouna El-Nasfi, a spokesman for the 32 MP’s, said: “We have decided to resign from the party’s bloc in parliament in protest against the lack of meetings of the executive board which is the party’s only legitimate structure.”

He added that the resignation comes in protest against the quest to choose a non-democratic path for the party.

Mustapha Ben Ahmed, one of the MPs who resigned, told Reuters that the next step may be the formation of an independent bloc in parliament comprising of the 32 MPs.

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi faces criticism over allegedly trying to enable his son to inherit the party’s leadership so as to prepare him for a more important political position later. But the presidency denies this. It also denies any interference in the differences between the two conflicting blocs within the party.

Marzouk’s bloc criticises what it describe as “the desire of some to dominate the party by force,” referring to Hafez Caid Essebsi and Reda Belhaj, the director of the president’s office.

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