The conflict of wings within Ennahda has developed more than ever, making any solution or agreement almost impossible. Leaders of Ennahda have rebelled recently, prompting other sectors, parties and generations to demonstrate in the streets and say their words regarding what is known as the Movement Leaders’ crisis, cancelling the eleventh conference, and the determination of Rashid al-Ghanoushi to stay in his place for now, and maybe further until 2024.
During the weekend, the 44th session of the Ennahda Shura Council was held, during which two-thirds of the council’s members withdrew, in protest against the agenda, according to the movement’s statement. The withdrawing members are mostly those who signed the one-hundred members’ petition, who raged a war against Ghanoushi in order not to change chapter 31 of the movement’s constitution, which doesn’t allow him to run a third term.
Draining Moral Balance
With the withdrawal of those members, the conflict which many of the leaders were trying to conceal was revealed to the public. It opened the door for explanations and speculation about the impact of the crisis on the state’s sovereign institutions, especially since the leader of the movement is the head of the Tunisian Parliament.
By looking at the messages, petitions, initiatives, calls and media statements, we can clearly see that the battle within Ennahda has nothing to do with the identity of the movement nor the pitfalls and problems that coincided its existence. A good proof of that is the incomplete epic of January 14, 2011 when the movement ruled the country and disengaged from the MB, ideologically and politically. It claimed that it separated between religion and politics, and that was the goal of the 10th, although Ennahda members themselves admit that they did not achieve the goal.
In this context, a few days after the Ennahda youths called for postponing the 11th conference and keeping the founders of the movement, Jawhara al-Teis, the youth leader in the movement announced that she officially resigned; pointing out that the reason for her resignation is that working with the movement is draining. Moreover, al-Teis admitted that instead of conducting the national reform project with a civilizational horizon based on harmonization between Islam and democracy, she found herself in a project intended to be in the interest of one single person, depending on the leader’s will and future.
The movement shall conduct necessary revisions regarding renouncing violence and condemning terrorism inside and outside the country, to exit the horizon of regional and international axes. Ennahda shall provide a national project for a new Tunisia; the project should be comp,ete in its economic, social, cultural, political and ethical dimensions. That is what none of the resigning members has mentioned, whether they are those demanding change or those tending to keep the current situation. The scramble inside the movement today is about the positions and has nothing to do with fundamental issues such as democracy, the results of the revolution, or the people’s aspiration for freedom, dignity, work, justice, democracy and etc.
The movement that postponed its conference to unknown date has started suffering from divisions publically. It seems that Ghanoushi did not expect that the fissure between him and the majority of the movement’s leader will become deeper, and might reach the closest circle around him. He is no more the strong man who had always controlled the Shura council’s meetings.
It seems that postponing the MB conference and dismantling the Shura council indicate that the battle within the movement has become deep and will soon lead to its collapse.
The rebellion of two thirds of the Shura council that was known for its absolute loyalty to Ghanoushi and their withdrawal from the latest meeting is the best proof that Ghanoshi has become isolated in the Shura council.
Inability to Continue
It seems that Ghanoushi has become unable to stop this mass migration from the movement. His comrades, the founders of the movement have left him, including the General Secretariat, Hammadi Al-Jabali, Habib Al-Lawz, Al-Sadiq Chourou and Abdel-Latif Al-Makki, and others. Therefore, the movement is no longer able to continue with the same policy that praised the leader, which prompted Ghanoushi to announce that he will not stay for a third term.