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Nidaa Tunis tensions come at crucial period for Tunisia

Nidaa Tunis appears to be inching toward a possible split after internal tensions erupted into a brawl.
Hafhed Caid Essebsi (C), son of Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi, arrives for a meeting with leaders of the Nidaa Tounes party in Tunis, Tunisia November 3, 2015. Tensions between two wings of Nidaa Tounes, whose name means Call of Tunis, spilled over into violence last week when a party meeting descended into open fighting with fists and sticks. A split within Nidaa Tounes could trigger political instability in the country that launched the first of the Arab Spring revolutions in 2011. Thirty-two of Ni

Tensions between two factions of Nidaa Tunis (Call of Tunisia) are threatening to disrupt the Tunisian parliament’s work at a vulnerable time for the country. The escalating internal conflict spilled over Nov. 1, when a brawl erupted at a party meeting at a luxury hotel in the resort town of Hammamet. The sides are split between supporters of Hafedh Essebsi, son of Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi, and Mohsen Marzouk, a former leftist activist and the party’s secretary-general. After the meeting, the party’s executive bureau accused the young Essebsi and some of the party leadership, including Cabinet director Ridha Belhaj, of inciting violence to “take over the party” and restructure it.

“Today Nidaa Tunis died. The party no longer exists as we know it,” wrote Mamoghli Chokri, a member of the party's executive board, on Facebook after the fight. “There will be a split. The parliamentary group will be divided into two, and the government will likely fall. Ennahda [the rival, Islamist party], by default, will become the [top] party in the country.”

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