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Tunisia’s Ennahda reiterates call to Chahed not to run in presidential elections

Youssef Chahed, Tunisia's newly appointed Prime Minister addressing the Tunisian parliament on August 26, 2016
Youssef Chahed, Tunisia's newly appointed Prime Minister addressing the Tunisian parliament on August 26, 2016

Tunisia’s Ennahda Movement on Monday reiterated its call to the Head of Government, Youssef Chahed, not to run in the 2019 presidential elections.

In a statement from the movement’s political bureau, Ennahda called on Chahed’s government to implement the economic reforms agreed upon in the Carthage II Document. The document was signed in 2016 and included economic and social policy guidelines, but its adoption was suspended in May following disagreements over specific clauses.

Tunisia has recently been witnessing a political and economic crisis, which has led to increasing calls for Chahed to resign. A meeting to discuss these crises at the Carthage Palace, the headquarters of the presidency, failed to agree on a solution.

The meeting, which was called by President Beji Caid Essebsi, was attended by Chahed, the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Mohamed Ennaceur, as well as 68 representatives of Ennahda’s 217 deputies. The Nidaa Tounes Movement, the Tunisian General Labour Union and the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts also attended, according to Anadolu.

In its statement, Ennahda Movement praised Essebsi’s decision to hold the meeting and the resumption of dialogue in Carthage as a first stage in discussions between the major political and social forces. It added that this dialogue would help to ease the situation and encourage the search for solutions to the current crisis. The statement also called on Chahed to “make government work more efficient by speeding up the implementation of the ministerial reshuffle, especially filling existing government vacancies.”

READ: Tunisia’s Ennahda slams calls to boycott Hajj

The government of Chahed is the eighth to take office since 2011, when political transition in the wake of the Arab Spring begun. It is now facing vacancies in the positions of the Minister of the Interior and Minister of Relations.

The current Government of National Unity, which took office two years ago, faces conflicts with a number of government coalition parties and the Tunisian General Labour Union against the backdrop of the country’s continuing economic crisis.

It is noteworthy that the political crisis has deepened in Tunisia, especially after the intensification of the conflict within the Nidaa Tounes movement between the executive director of the movement, Hafedh Caid Essebsi (also the Tunisian President’s son), and Chahed, who is a leader in the same party.

In an interview with Nessma TV in August 2017, head of the Ennahda Movement, Rached Ghannouchi, called on Chahed to announce that he would not run in next year’s presidential elections.

READ: Ghannouchi likely to vie in 2019 poll: Tunisia’s Ennahda

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