Tunisia: insults, sit-in, settling of scores ... the eventful week of the new Parliament - JeuneAfrique.com
The Assembly of People's Representatives (ARP) had included in its program for the week of December 2 the examination of the complementary finance law 2019 and the finance law 2020. However, the hemicycle had to deal with a completely different emergency. : calm tensions between deputies of the Free Destourien Party (PDL) and those of Ennahdha.
By qualifying, in plenary session, the representatives of the PDL of “tramps” and “bandits”, the deputy of Ennahdha Jamila Ksiksi set fire to the powders, triggering an escalation in the insults. The response was indeed immediate: on social networks, supporters of the PDL made racist remarks against the Islamist, the only black parliamentarian in the hemicycle, arousing strong indignation in the ranks of the party to the dove. The exchange of jokes and names of birds could have ended with the close of the session, but the PDL decided otherwise.
Lead by its president, Abir Moussi, the parliamentary group began a sit-in, demanding an apology. Camped on his positions for seven days, he finally won his case, the PDL considering at a press conference that "the insults had been denounced". Never seen before under the dome of the Bardo, yet accustomed since 2011 to the skirmishes between elected.
Chaos revealing a deep antagonism
Far from being anecdotal, this series of incidents is revealing of the cleavage that fractures the Tunisian political landscape. The antagonism between the PDL, heir to the movement of Ben Ali's party, the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD), and the Islamists of Ennahdha - winners of the last legislative elections - seems irreversible. Despite the revolution, despite the time that has elapsed since, the two political families are still ready to unearth their old grievances. A register that politically translates into visceral hatred: for Ennahdha, the PDL is the enemy to be destroyed at the start of this legislature, and vice versa.
It's not an assembly anymore, it's a circus. We elected clowns and a puppeteer
The President of the PDL, only female candidate in presidential election last fall, is the main target of Islamists. "We looked well, but it has no pot," nevertheless tempers, on condition of anonymity, a member of Congress for the Republic (CPR, an ally of Ennahdha during the Constituent, in 2012).
The rat race in the hemicycle, the photos of the deputies plunged into darkness following a power cut ordered by the presidency of the Assembly, the threats of expulsion with the use of public force, the the gap of journalists ... So many adventures that have made the media cabbage, and greatly contributed to degrade the image of Parliament. “It's no longer an assembly, it's a circus. We elected clowns and a puppeteer leader, ”laments a former deputy.
The media coverage of this sit-in relegated the work of the ARP to the background. These, however, related to the approval of the finance law 2020, which was to be adopted by Tuesday, December 10.
Suspicious, some observers believe that the altercation with the PDL would be a maneuver to conceal a more in-depth analysis of the state budget, and not reveal all the dysfunctions. It is clear that indeed, the finance law was finally adopted without having really been studied.
The ARP soap opera also had another, more unexpected effect. More than ever since the new Assembly took office, Abir Moussi is a rebellious man: she ostentatiously displays her rejection of the Islamists of Ennahdha, and goes so far as to refuse to pronounce the title of president of Rached Ghannouchi when she speaks. A provocation difficult to accept for those who, after years of secrecy, managed to free themselves from a sulphurous reputation.
However, Rached Ghannouchi preferred to forfeit: he remained silent, while a press release from the Bureau of the Assembly condemned the remarks made by deputies of his own party with regard to Abir Moussi.
A game that can be renewed at will, which increases the popularity of the president of the PDL, while setting a precedent which could well be inspired by other parties, including those which were not in solidarity with Abir Moussi. "If Abir did it, others will be tempted to dare, and this does not bode well for the authority of the president of the ARP," said a journalist attached to the ARP.
But beyond the authority of the perch, it is the entire structure of Parliament that could be questioned soon. If it was validated, popular consultation that President Kais Said wants to launch would lead to a complete overhaul of the institutional system. Including the principle of territorial representation, this would result in the disappearance of Parliament in its current form.
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