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article imageRival parties in Tunisia compromise on constitution

By Ken Hanly     Dec 29, 2013 in Politics
Tunis - The president of Tunisia's transitional parliament reported that rival parties have worked out a compromise over contentious points in a draft constitution.
The president of the parliament Mustapha Ben Jafar says the the ruling Islamist Ennahda party had agreed to give more powers to the president even though it had wanted a pure parliamentary system. The president would be given the power to dissolve the legislature. The draft constitution can now go to the legislature on January 3rd. In another compromise the Ennahda Party and the opposition agreed power would be handed to a technocratic interim government in the period before elections. This will now take place on January 8.
Tunisia's 2011 revolution to overthrow dictator Zine Abedine Ben Ali was the first in the Arab Spring and triggered protests elsewhere to unseat autocratic Arab leaders such as Mubarak in Egypt. After recent political crises a new constitution and elections renew hope of a successful transition to democracy.
The Ennahda movement party won in the 23rd of October 2011 Tunisian Constituent Assembly election. The party won over 37 per cent of the popular vote and 89 of the 217 seats in the assembly far more than any other party. However, by October of 2013 after many protests and demands that the Ennahda-led government step down an agreement was worked out between Ennahda and the opposition led by the National Salvation Front for the Ennahda-led government to step down and be replaced by a transitional government. The agreement was mediated by the UGTT labour union.
The opposition accuses the Ennahda-led government of pushing an Islamist agenda on Tunisia which had been for some time under Ben Ali been a mostly secular society especially in Tunis the capital. The murder of a prominent left-wing personage Chokri Belaid in February and later in July the murder of opposition politician Mohammed Brahmi in July intensified opposition to the government even though evidence pointed to a more radical Salafist group as responsible for the murders not Ennahda. Ennahda condemned the killings but opposition groups claimed that Ennahda was not acting to rein in radical Islamists. In fact radical groups were becoming increasingly active in demonstrations against what radicals considered un-Islamic aspects of Tunisian society. Now at least there appears to be a resolution of some key political issues. However, economic issues remain unsolved and Islamic radicalism remains a threat.
More about ennahda party, Tunisia, tunisian transition
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