Initially, President Saied only announced in Tunisia that the work of the parliament would be suspended. Investigations against two leading Islamist parties are now underway. Several states speak of a successful strike against the Muslim Brotherhood.
Tunis (dpa) – The political infighting in Tunisia is getting worse as the Tunisian judiciary is now investigating the Islamist-conservative party Ennahda and its closely related party Kalb Tounes.
Both are accused of receiving money from abroad for, among other things, election campaigns, a court spokesperson said. In the event of a guilty plea, the parties’ assets may be frozen and travel bans imposed on their members.
In Tunisia, President Kais Saied has been fighting a power struggle with the Ennahda for months. In a surprising move, he fired Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi from office on Sunday evening and temporarily suspended the work of parliament. In doing so, he also weakened the position of the Islamists, who are considered moderate.
As Prime Minister, Mechichi received support from Ennahda and Kalb Tounes (heart of Tunisia). Like Mechichi, the two strongest parties in parliament are crossed with President Saied. The main focus of the dispute is how to divide power between the president, government and parliament.
After Saied’s controversial measures, the Ennahda spoke of a “coup d’état” on Sunday evening. However, the president stated that the measures he announced were within the legal framework of the constitution.
Reactions in the region to developments in Tunisia have been mixed. In three of the most influential countries there – Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – Saied’s steps are celebrated as a major blow against Islamists. Cairo, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi view Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated movements as a serious threat, including the Ennahda. The party denies ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.
The Muslim Brotherhood in the region was “hardly hit” by Saied, the pro-government Saudi newspaper “Okas” reported. Saied acted “resolutely against the Islamist Ennahda party,” Egypt’s state news website “Al-Ahram” wrote. The Emirati news site “24 Media” described Ennahda’s departure from politics as “the only solution to the mounting crises in the country”.