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Fact check: Has Ennahda governed Tunisia alone for the past 10 years?

August 26, 2021 at 9:24 am

Tunisian forces take security measures around parliament during a protest against suspending parliament, in Tunis, Tunisia on 26 July 2021 [YASSINE MAHJOUB/AFP/Getty Images]

For months, analysts on television programmes have been promoting the idea that the Islamist Ennahda movement has been running Tunisia from the January 2011 revolution until 25 July this year, when President Kais Saied announced his exceptional measures, dismissed the prime minister and suspended the parliament.

In order to fact check this claim, Anadolu Agency has monitored the extent to which Ennahda participated in government since the October 2011 election, during which the movement secured a clear majority. This has been maintained until today through affiliated prime ministers, ministers, secretaries of state, governors and delegates.

24 December, 2011 to 13 March, 2013: Hamadi Jebali’s government

On 24 December 2011, the government of Hamadi Jebali (Ennahda’s secretary general at the time, who later resigned from the movement) replaced the cabinet appointed by the then President Beji Caid Essebsi in March 2011. Jebali’s government included 30 ministers and 11 secretaries of state.

Ennahda had 14 ministers and one state clerk, including Minister of Justice Noureddine Bhiri, Minister of the Interior Ali Laarayedh, Minister of Foreign Affairs Rafik Abdessalem and Minister of Industry Mohamed Lamine Chakhari.

The coalition partners of Ennahda, the Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties (FDTL) and the Congress for the Republic (CPR), each appointed five ministers and two secretaries of state. The rest of the government members were independent.

13 March, 2013 to 23 January, 2014: Ali Laarayedh’s government

Ali Laarayedh’s government assumed the duties handed over by Jebali’s cabinet. The latter announced his resignation following the assassination of left-wing activist Chokri Belaid on 6 February 2013. The government started working officially on 13 March, 2013 and was composed of 27 ministers and 10 secretaries of state.

Ennahda’s part in this government consisted of 11 ministers and one secretary of state. The FDTL has three ministerial portfolios and one secretary of state and the CPR took over three ministries. The rest of the appointed ministers and secretaries of state were independents.

29 January, 2014 to 6 February, 2015: technocrat government led by Mehdi Jomaa

Following the assassination of the leader of the Nasserist nationalist movement in Tunisia, Mohamed Brahmi, on 25 July 2013, a political crisis erupted and the opposition led by Essebsi (the head of Nidaa Tounes party, founded in June 2012) demanded the resignation of Laarayedh’s government.

Starting in September 2013, a National Dialogue was held under the aegis of four major national organisations: the Tunisian General Labour Union (the largest trade union in the country), the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (the employers’ union), the Tunisian League of Human Rights, and the Tunisian National Bar Association.

The dialogue resulted in an agreement between the concerned parties, including Ennahda, to form a technocrat government that would lead the country towards elections after the ratification of the new constitution by the National Constituent Assembly (a provisional parliament elected on 23 October, 2011).

It was agreed that Jomaa, Minister of Industry in Laarayedh’s government, would be the Prime Minister. His government had 21 ministers and seven secretaries of state, all of whom were independent. Ennahda did not have any minister.

6 February, 2015 to 6 January, 2016: the first government of Habib Essid

During the October 2014 legislative election, Nidaa Tounes party won 85 of the 217 seats in the Assembly of People’s Representatives. Ennahda came second with 69 seats, followed by the Free Patriotic Union (UPL) with 16, the Popular Front with 15 seats, and Afek Tounes with eight.

Habib Essid was tasked with forming the government, which had 26 ministers and 14 secretaries of state, including eight ministers and two secretaries of state for Nidaa Tounes, and three ministers for Afek Tounes and the UPL.

Ennahda’s share was one minister and three secretaries of state. The other ministers and secretaries of state were independents.

6 January, 2016 to 29 August, 2016: the second government of Habib Essid

On 6 January 2016, Essid announced a cabinet reshuffle that led to the cancellation of all secretaries of state positions. The government was made up of 32 ministers, including nine portfolios for Nidaa Tounes and three each for Afek Tounes and the UPL. Ennahda appointed two ministers.

28 August, 2016 to 6 November, 2018: Youssef Chahed’s first government

As Essid failed to gain a vote of confidence from parliament at the end of July 2016, the late President Essebsi assigned the Minister of Local Affairs, Youssef Chahed, to form a new government of 26 ministers and 14 state clerks, which took office on 28 August, 2016.

Nidaa Tounes had four ministries and four female secretaries of state, while Afek Tounes appointed two ministers and two female secretaries of state. Ennahda named four ministers and three female secretaries of state, while independents and small parties appointed the rest of the ministers and secretaries of state.

14 November, 2018 to 28 February, 2020: Youssef Chahed’s second government

On 5 November 2018, Chahed announced a major cabinet reshuffle to appoint 11 new members of the government, while seven ministers left. The government had 28 ministers and 14 secretaries of state.

Nidaa Tounes had seven ministers and four secretaries of state and Afek Tounes had two ministers and two secretaries of state. The UPL withdrew from the government.

Ennahda’s share was four ministers and three secretaries of state. Independents and small parties named the rest of the ministers and secretaries of state.

28 February, 2020 to 3 September, 2020: Elyes Fakhfakh’s government

During the 6 October, 2019 election, Ennahda came first with a share of 54 out of 217 deputies, while the Heart of Tunisia party led by businessman and media figure Nabil Karoui came second with 38 deputies; the Democratic Current won 22 seats.

After the failure of the government of Ennahda-nominated Habib Jemli to win a vote of confidence in parliament on 11 January, 2020, the Tunisian president assigned the leader of the FDTL (which had no deputies) Elyes Fakhfakh to form the government. It took over from the previous cabinet headed by Chahed on 28 February, 2020.

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The government consisted of 29 ministers and three secretaries of state. The Democratic Current had three ministries, the People’s Movement (with 15 deputies) appointed two ministers, as did the Tahya Tounes party.

Ennahda named six ministers, all of whom were dismissed by Fakhfakh before announcing his resignation in response to the movement’s withdrawal of confidence in him. The rest of the ministries, in addition to three secretaries of state, were independents.

3 September, 2020 to 25 July, 2021: Hichem Mechichi’s government

Fakhfakh submitted his resignation on 16 July 2020, in light of a conflict of interest case brought against him by the National Anti-Corruption Authority (INLUCC).

President Kais Saied assigned Interior Minister Hichem Mechichi to form the government, which won the vote of confidence in parliament and took office on 3 September 2020. It was dismissed by Saied in his exceptional measures announced on 25 July this year.

Mechichi’s government had 25 ministers and three secretaries of state (serving as deputy ministers), all of whom were independent. It enjoyed the support of Ennahda, Heart of Tunisia party, the Dignity Coalition and the Tahya Tounes party. Ennahda had limited representation among governors and delegates.

Hedi Triki, a member of Ennahda’s Executive Office in charge of local governance, told Anadolu that only two out of 24 governors are affiliated with the movement, and just 30 delegates were named by Ennahda out of 264 delegations covering the whole country.

It is noteworthy that the governors and delegates are the actual rulers of governorates and delegations in Tunisia.

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