News / Middle East

    Tunisia's Ruling Party Faces Splits as Lawmakers Quit

    FILE - Tunisian Minister for Political Affairs Mohsen Marzouk, speaks at the Blair House in Washington, May 20, 2015.
    FILE - Tunisian Minister for Political Affairs Mohsen Marzouk, speaks at the Blair House in Washington, May 20, 2015.
    Reuters

    Sixteen Tunisian lawmakers from President Beji Caid Essebsi's Nidaa Tounes party resigned on Friday over a dispute involving his son in a move that may allow Islamist rivals to become the main parliamentary power.

    The resignations deepened a split between two wings in Nidaa Tounes just days after its secretary-general, Mohsen Marzouk, announced he would break away and form a new political movement over accusations Essebsi's son was trying to control the party.

    The rift in Nidaa Tounes, formed after Tunisia's 2011 revolt against Zine Abidine Ben Ali, comes at a delicate time as the North African state struggles to contain jihadist violence and encourage economic growth.

    "The son of the president and his group took control of party and carried out a coup," Walid Jalled, one of the lawmakers told Reuters. "We will not accept being like a flock of sheep."

    Another lawmaker, Abada El Kefi, said three more Nidaa Tounes parliament members would resign when they returned from travel overseas.

    After this week's resignations, Nidaa Tounes will have 70 lawmakers in the 217-member congress while Islamist party Ennahda has 69 seats. If more Nidaa Tounes legislators left, Ennahda could become the main party in parliament.

    The resignations may complicate attempts to push through sensitive reforms that Tunisia's international lenders are demanding to curb public spending and kickstart an economy hit by three major Islamist militant attacks this year.

    Nidaa Tounes emerged as a political force in 2013 to lead protests against a government formed by the Islamist party Ennahda. It beat Ennahda in elections in 2014 and went on to form a coalition with its rival.

    Divisions have been growing inside Nidaa Tounes - which means Call of Tunisia - since last year after a dispute emerged between a wing of the party led by Hafedh Caid Essebi the president's son and another by Marzouk, one of its founders.

    Essebsi's backers dismiss claims they wanted to put his son in a position of power through a dynastic handover of control of the party. Critics say Essebsi's camp had ridden roughshod over party regulations.

    With a new constitution and free elections, Tunisia has been praised as a model of democratic transition since the ouster of Ben Ali. It has mostly escaped the violent upheaval of other states in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

    But after three major attacks by militants last year, Tunisia is struggling with security challenges. It needs reforms to help ease public spending and create economic opportunities that many Tunisians still see as a priority.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora