Tunisian ruling coalition fails to agree on common platform

Experts are sceptical over prospects of May 18 meeting to discuss possible amendments to the document.

Saturday 16/05/2020
Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh meets with coalition partners Friday. (Tunisian media)

TUNIS –Leaders of the ruling coalition in Tunisia, known as “Troika 2”, failed to agree on “The Era of Solidarity and Stability” document, which was presented in an effort to adjust the map of political balances in the country, with aim of appeasing tensions between the various political players.

The meeting was held May 14 in the presence of Tunisian President Kais Saied, Prime Minister Elias al-Fakhakh, leader of Ennahdha movement Rachid Ghannouchi, President of the Democratic Current Party Mohamed Abbou, and Secretary-General of the People’s Movement Zouhair al-Maghzaoui.

Held at the request of the Prime Minister, the meeting was also attended by leader of Tahya Tounes Youssef Chahed and the head of the Parliamentary Reform Bloc Hasouna Nasfi, two key players who support the current ruling coalition.

The participants addressed the document, “The era of solidarity and stability,” during the meeting, emphasising the importance of solidarity, government stability, and the need for further discussion to reach an agreement.

The Prime Ministers’ Office, however, said in a statement that the meeting was “an occasion to discuss the general situation in the country and an opportunity to emphasize the key role of the government coalition.”

The aim is “to reinforce stability and guarantee a favourable climate to initiate reforms and face the great challenges facing Tunisia, including the crisis  caused by Covid-19 and challenges on the international scene,” the statement by the Prime Ministers’ Office added.

With the failure to reach an agreement, the leaders of the ruling coalition are expected to consult with their parties on possible amendments to the document, that was supposed to be signed May 14.

The document, submitted by the prime minister to the parties that constitute his parliamentary belt, includes seven key points, notably the preservation of government’s unity and avoiding divisive statements, especial in the wake of growing differences between the Islamist Ennahda movement and the People’s Movement.

Now that the first meeting has failed, leaders of the ruling parties will meet again May 18 to discuss possible amendments to the document

Observers, however, are not very optimistic,  pointing to the position of Ennahda movement, which has intensified its manoeuvres to isolate the Tunisian president and limit his options in easing political tensions.