Tunisia will not follow Egypt, says Tunisia's ruling party

Published July 5th, 2013 - 05:53 GMT
Tunisians shout slogans against the ruling Ennahda Party during a protest in front of the Constituent Assembly (Source: AFP/FETHI BELAID)
Tunisians shout slogans against the ruling Ennahda Party during a protest in front of the Constituent Assembly (Source: AFP/FETHI BELAID)

The leader of Tunisia's ruling al-Nahda party ruled out a scenario in his country similar to the recent events leading to the ouster of Egypt's Islamist president Mohammed Mursi, in remarks published Thursday.

Tunisian opposition activists have launched their own version of Egypt's Tamarod (Rebellion) protest movement, whose campaign to remove Mursi drew millions to the streets and led to the ouster of the Islamist leader Wednesday.

"Some young dreamers may think that they can repeat in Tunisia what happened in Egypt, but their efforts would be wasted," al-Nahda’s Rached Ghannouchi told Saudi daily, Asharq Al-Awsat, insisting the situation in Tunisia is "different" from that in Egypt.

"We have taken a serious strategy based on consensus, especially between the Islamist and modernist movements, which has saved our country the risks of divisions," he said.

The Tunisian Tamarod movement hopes to galvanize opposition against their own Islamist-led government which, like Mursi’s, came to power after an uprising in 2011 swept an autocratic leader from office.

The Tunisian group accuses the Islamists of trying to usher in a religious state that smothers personal freedoms and failing to drag the economy out of its current crisis.

Its members said they planned to call for mass protests after quickly gathering the signatures of about 200,000 people opposing the government.

The Tamarod movement in Egypt had collected 22 million signatures against Mursi, and the Tunisian activists believe they can acquire comparable momentum.

Tunisian Tamarod spokesman Mohammed Bennour said the group aimed to overturn a constituent assembly charged with drafting a new constitution, accusing the body of preparing the ground for a religious state. It also wants a new caretaker government.

"Tunisia's young are following in the footsteps of young Egyptians... We are not satisfied with what is happening in the country, from an attack on freedoms to a bad economic and social situation," Bennour told reporters.

The struggle for power has deepened animosity between Tunisia's Islamists and liberals since the ousting of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.

Its political forces are now locked in debate as they seek to draw up a post-revolution constitution.

Tunisia's governing Islamist party al-Nahda managed to head off growing street protests and appease secular-minded parties by ushering in a coalition government in March that included several independent ministers.

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