Some 113 members of Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda movement resigned on Saturday in protest over the party’s leader, reflecting widening divisions within the country’s largest political group.
Tunisia, long seen as the sole democratic success story of the 2010-2011 Arab uprisings, has been in turmoil since President Kais Saied suspended parliament and sacked the prime minister in July.
On Wednesday, Saied expanded his powers by taking over legislative and executive authorities, as well as suspending some chapters of the constitution.
Since July, Ennahda and its head, Rached Ghannouchi, have been leading the opposition to Saied’s measures.
However, the resigned officials, who include prominent members of the party, lawmakers and former ministers, blame Ghannouchi for a series of “failures” that led to Saied’s decisions.
They published their resignation letter, saying it comes due to a lack of internal reforms, and accused Ghannouchi, who is also the parliament speaker, of monopolizing decision-making within the party and failing to manage parliament.
This is the biggest internal crisis Ennahda has faced since it began its official political activity in 2011, after decades of working as an underground opposition group.
“The decision came after long discussions. The movement has become isolated and unable to coordinate with other parties due to internal defect,” former minister of human rights and one of the resigned officials, Samir Dilou, told dpa.
Saied, a former law professor who took office in 2019, defended his moves, saying they were in line with the constitution, and promised to safeguard freedoms and rights.
His opponents condemned them as a coup.