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Essebsi: ‘Our relations with Ennahda are over’

Tunisian President Beji Ceid Essebsi (R) shakes hands with Ennahdha Islamist party Leader Rached Ghannouchi during an event in Tunis on January 14, 2015 [File poto]

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said on Monday that the five-year-old political consensus between him and the Ennahda Movement has ended at its request.

In an interview aired on Elhiwar Ettounsi TV channel, President Essebsi said that “we decided to cut the ties at the request of Ennahda. It wants consensus with the government headed by Youssef Chahed”. Hence, the relations between Beji Caid Essebsi and Ennahda have been cut off.

He added: “There is no longer consensus for a connection between Beji and Ennahda, under their request. Ennahda cut off ties with Beji and chose another path. Hopefully, it will be successful on God’s will, but I do not think so.”

Commenting on the calls to expedite the upcoming presidential and legislative elections, Essebsi said: “The elections will be held on their scheduled time, on December 2019. There will be no expedition or postponement.”

READ: Tunisia foils smuggling attempt through northern coast

It is noteworthy that Ennahda Movement refuses to exclude Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, claiming he has maintained the stability of the country until the next elections.

Essebsi also reiterated in his interview his call to Chahed to go to parliament and gain its trust so that he can continue working with his government.  He added that he did not have a hostile attitude toward Youssef Chahed or his son Hafedh Caid Essebsi.

He continued: “It would be beneficial for Tunisia if they both leave… or they must put an end to their disagreement.

The Tunisian General Labour Union is one of the most prominent parties that called for ousting the Prime Minister. It is strongly opposed to the privatisation process it accused the Prime Minister of preparing to include the national airline Tunisair as well as some banks and industrial groups.

Chahed, the seventh Prime Minister since the 2011 revolution, has remained a record period of his term since his appointment in August 2016.

Chahed enjoys the appreciation of international fund providers to Tunisia, as well as the support of the Islamic Ennahda Party which has become the largest political party in the parliament.

For months, he has been strongly opposed by a part of the Tunisian Nidaa Tounés Party led by Hafedh Caid Essebsi, the son of the Tunisian president.

READ: Tunisia Ennahda condemns Essebsi criticism by official 

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