Tunisian opposition parties may join forces
By Houda Trabelsi for Magharebia in Tunis – 30/12/11
Leaders from Tunisia's four main opposition parties met outside of Tunis earlier this week to discuss plans for a possible alliance of centrist and centre-left political groups.
The grouping includes the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), Afek Tounes, the Modernist Democratic Pole (PDM), Ettajdid and other opposition forces, both with and without representation in the Constituent Assembly. They were joined at the December 26th conference by several newcomers, including a party established by former interim Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi.
"The political map today involves an imbalance of power and doesn't reflect the real condition of the Tunisian society that is keen on the gains of an independent state," according to Jounaidi Abd Jawed, a member of the political bureau of Ettajdid Movement. Speaking at a seminar on joint political action in Monastir, he said Tunisia needs to build a modern, progressive, democratic and popular entity.
Abd Jalil Badoui, leader of the Tunisian Labour Party, called for unifying the parties because they embrace the same open, democratic, and modern social project. He stressed the need for an opposition to shadow authority so that Tunisians have an alternative in case they are not satisfied with the incumbent authority.
The current political situation "doesn't allow for rotation of power", according to Yassin Brahim, executive manager of Afek Tounes. Brahim noted that there was a nationwide debate to form a centrist political force over stages involving many parties that are not represented in the Constituent Assembly.
"The mechanisms for convergence between these parties are still open," said Maher Hanin, a member of the PDP executive bureau. He said that their unification would reflect positively on society, stressing the need to renounce minor differences.
The opposition parties seek to form a strong unified front that will compete to win most of the seats in the next legislative election, which may be held in the second two months of 2013 once the second transitional period in Tunisia has been completed.
The October 23rd election produced a major victory for the Islamist Ennahda Movement, which won a plurality of Constituent Assembly seats after garnering 40% of the vote. Ennahda then formed a tripartite coalition with Ettakatol and the Congress for the Republic (CPR) to govern Tunisia during the transition.
"The government's performance has so far been poor, and this is clear from the appointments of ministers that I believe are not correct," commented citizen Moez al-Morali. "Therefore, forming an opposition front is important to bring things back to the right track," noting that "the opposition will play the role of monitor of this government so that it may not deviate from its right course."
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