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Tunisia National Salvation Front: 'We do not seek to restore Ennahda to power'

Tunisian opposition leader Ahmed Najib Chebbi in Tunis, Tunisia on 14 February 2022 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian opposition leader Ahmed Najib Chebbi in Tunis, Tunisia on 14 February 2022 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Head of the Tunisian National Salvation Front Ahmed Najib Chebbi has denied that the front has attempted to restore the Ennahda Movement to power, pointing out that the goal of establishing the front is to restore democracy in the country. Chebbi also believes that the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) is attacking the front to get close to President Kais Saied.

"We do not seek to return Ennahda or others to power, but rather we want to return the decision to the voter. The party that wants to compete with Ennahda should work to gain the voter's support. Thus, the logic here is a democratic one. In a democracy, the party that removes a party from power or returns it is the voter, so why this fear from the voter?" expressed Chebbi to Al-Quds Al-Arabi in an exclusive interview.

"The goal is to restore constitutional legitimacy, return to democracy, renew electoral legitimacy through early elections and assign a government to rescue Tunisia from its severe crisis. The issue deals with the future and is not related to the past," Chebbi added.

Observers consider that the opposition's dispersion and its "failure" to polarise the people pushed President Saied to continue his path taking advantage of the "weakness" of his opponents.

However, Chebbi affirmed that the opposition is the strongest today in Tunisia since: "Kais Saied is isolated at home and abroad, and everyone left him including the consultative body he formed to draft the Constitution, along with the civil, social and political forces in the country."

READ: National Salvation Front describes new constitution as 'authority of one person'

He added: "In order for Tunisia to return to the path of democracy, the power relationship must be modified. In order for the power relationship to be converted, the forces of change must be harmonised. If a broad national front is formed, the balance of power will be reversed, and a national salvation conference that agrees on the necessary constitutional, political, economic and social reforms will be held. This conference will produce a national salvation government approved by the Parliament through a special session that grants it the authority to administrate the country in the interim phase until holding early elections that restore electoral legitimacy. "

However, the approval of the Salvation Government proposed by the opposition requires the return of the Parliament that the president dissolved. Chebbi explained this by saying: "Parliament practically announced this on 30 March, when it held its only online meeting, during which it abolished all the exceptional measures of President Kais Saied and considered them illegitimate. The Parliament also said that it puts itself under the outcomes of the national dialogue, and if the national dialogue runs a figure to lead the team of the Salvation Government, it is logical for the Parliament to hold a new special session during which it proposes the Salvation Government. It could also give it the authority to issue decrees to lead the interim phase that ends with new elections and a new legislative council that may recommend this government or assign a new one."

The National Salvation Front had called on the UGTT to participate in a comprehensive national dialogue to save the country. However, the UGTT responded by attacking the front.

Chebbi remarked on this by stating: "The UGTT attacked us, and we did not respond to the attack with a counter-attack because we consider the UGTT as a social and balancing force that played an important role in all phases of national life. We consider that in defending democracy, we need the strength of the UGTT, and for this reason, we do not enter into quarrels with it."

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