Two major parties in Tunisia refuse to participate in “Ennahda” coalition government

Two main democratic parties and the People’s Movement said on Friday they would not take part in Prime Minister-designate Habib Jamali’s government, a move that could lead to a fragile coalition and throw the country into a political crisis.

The Two move came after weeks of negotiations following last October’s elections, which led to a deeply divided parliament with a slight victory for the Islamist movement Ennahda.

The move could lead to the inclusion of the “Heart of Tunisia” party, led by media magnate Nabil Karoui, to participate in the government, although Ennahda has previously rejected its refusal to join the Heart of Tunisia party on suspicion of corruption against some of its leaders.

Ennahda, which won the last elections, is counting on the participation of the current and the people to form a government coalition that includes the so-called “revolutionary forces.”

But the People’s Party said in a statement Friday: “This walk in the formation of the government is not serious and shows no identity of the government, so we are not interested in participation.”

For its part, the Democratic Party refused to participate because of the refusal to grant the ministries he had demanded as a condition for entering the government, namely, the ministries of interior, justice and administrative reform.

Mohamed Abbou, secretary-general of the Democratic Current, said his party would not participate in the Gamali government and would not vote for it in parliament.

In an interview with Reuters this week, Jamali said strategic ministries including the interior, justice, defense and foreign ministries would be led by independents.

Tunisia needs a strong government to meet growing demands from frustrated young people who want to work and develop, as well as pressure from lenders who are demanding urgent reforms to save the economy.

But the shrinking number of people who want to join the government could make it too fragile even if it gets parliamentary approval, and it cannot cope with union pressure and social demands.

The “Long Live Tunisia” party, led by current Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, had earlier said its natural place was the opposition.

Analysts say a weak government without political backing from most factions would reproduce the same failures of previous governments and could throw the country into a more severe political and economic crisis.

Tunisia has been suffering since the 2011 revolution, which ended the rule of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and produced a democratic system, a severe economic crisis with increasing unemployment and inflation and the return of the value of the dinar.

Tunisians complain about the poor quality of services in public utilities such as health, transport and education. Successive governments have failed to address these problems since 2011.

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