Arab states offered the late Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi a large sum of money to exclude Ennahda from the country’s democratic process, an official in the party said yesterday.
Abdelkarim Harouni, chairman of Ennahda’s Consultative Council, said: “The Emirates tried to lure the late president, Beji Caid Essebsi, with an alluring financial offer in return for excluding Ennahda from government and political life and ending the democratic experience.”
Harouni told the Anadolu Agency: “But Essebsi, as a national statesman, refused this offer and said that Tunisia is not for sale, adding that it is an independent country and its people are free and know their interest.”
Essebsi headed Nidaa Tounes between 2012 and 2014, and held the presidency from 2014 until his death in 2019.
Al-Harouni stressed that “the peaceful revolution started from Tunisia, and we neither export or import the revolution. Tunisia has chosen its path and it has achieved an agreed upon democratic transition without exclusion… It is willing to dedicate itself to tackling the economic and social challenges.”
“Over the last ten years,” he continued, “anti-revolutionary forces in the Arab world have tried to derail the Arab Spring and the aspirations of our peoples for democracy, from Syria to Yemen, Egypt and Libya.”
“These countries have tried, through their agents in Tunisia, to disrupt and abort the Tunisian experience.”
He added: “Tunisia is not a country of coups; our army is … committed to democracy, and our battle against terrorism is progressing and respected by all Tunisians. Tunisia’s elections cannot be falsified; they are held under the supervision of an independent body, with the monitoring of civil society and free media.”
Critics have said Gulf states are worried revolutions in Arab states may lead to their own populations rising up against them.