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Tunisia: Court of Auditors recommends dropping lists of Ennahda Movement in Parliament

Tunisia's new President Kais Saied takes the oath of office on October 23, 2019 at the parliament in Tunis. - Saied, a conservative academic with no previous political experience who won the overwhelming support of younger voters in an October 13 runoff, was sworn in before members of the constituent assembly and other top state bodies. (Photo by Fethi Belaid / AFP) (Photo by FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images)
Tunisia's President Kais Saied in parliament in Tunis on 23 October 2019 [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

The Tunisian Ennahda movement confirmed that the Court of Auditors' proposal to abolish the membership of all its lists in all governorates, except for the governorates of El Kef and Siliana, is a first instance decision, and that Ennahda will appeal it before the judiciary.

In an exclusive statement to Arabi21, Ennahda deputy, Imad Khamiri, said: "What has happened, so far, is that the judge rapporteur decided to abolish the lists of the Ennahda movement in Parliament, except for the lists of El Kef and Siliana until now, and we will appeal this decision. We have faith that the judgment of the judiciary, whose structure has changed after the revolution and become independent, will be independent from any influence of any political directives."

Khamiri indicated that "these issues related to the Court of Auditors have been raised for some time, although rendering of the recommendation now comes in the context of putting pressure on the Parliament situation and its internal components."

"We have fears of existing pressure on the judiciary, especially from the Presidency of the republic, which we saw in public positions, and in a frantic effort to undermine the Ennahda movement," Khamiri added.

On last 14 July, the spokesperson of the Court of First Instance in Tunis, Mohsen Al-Dali, said that the investigative judge in the Economic and Financial Judicial Division (a judicial complex specialised in cases of administrative and financial corruption) had initiated an investigation on charge of "receiving external funding."

Al-Dali added that the investigation includes both the Ennahda party (53 deputies out of 217, before the resignation of eight deputies from Ennahda bloc last week), Heart of Tunisia (28 deputies) and the Aich Tounsi association (private cultural and sporting / one deputy in parliament).

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The Court of Auditors, which is considered the highest judicial supervisory body in Tunisia, revealed in a report that the Islamic Ennahda movement concluded a contract with an American advertising and pressure company in order to form a positive image of the movement.

The report also accused the Heart of Tunisia party, headed by businessman, Nabil Karoui, of contracting with a foreign pressure company for a sum of 2.85 million dinars, and part of the contract's value was transferred through an unauthorised bank account, which is his wife's account.

According to the aforementioned report, President Saied frequently criticised the judiciary for the delay in issuing its final judgments, and went to the extent of threatening to issue decrees that activates its outcomes.

Last Wednesday, the Tunisian Parliament approved, in an online session, a law abolishing the exceptional measures imposed by President Saied on 25 July, which included suspending the Parliament, issuing legislation with presidential decrees, and dissolving the Supreme Judicial Council.

Hours later, Saied announced, in a televised speech, the dissolution of Parliament "to preserve the state and its institutions", considering the Parliament's meeting and its issued decisions were a "failed coup attempt", before referring the deputies for investigation.

Since Friday, dozens of deputies (including Speaker of Parliament, Rashid Ghannouchi) have been referred to the Anti-Terror Unit for investigation, which was scheduled today, regarding other deputies before putting off the hearing to a later date.

Since 25 July, Tunisia has been witnessing a serious political crisis, when Saied started to impose "exceptional measures", including suspending the Parliament, issuing legislation by presidential decrees, dismissing the government and appointing a new one.

The majority of political and civil forces in Tunisia reject these measures, and consider them as a "coup against the Constitution", while other forces support them and consider them as a "correction of the course of the 2011 revolution", which toppled the former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

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