Leftist Parties Ally To Oppose Tunisia's Two Dominant Parties

As Tunisia prepares for elections, left-leaning parties have allied to rival Tunisia's two dominant political forces: the Islamist Ennahda party and the anti-Islamist opposition party, Nidaa Tunis. The new Popular Front alliance includes officials from the regime of ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, reports Othman Lehiani.

al-monitor Demonstrators in Tunis protest the Islamist Ennahda movement Oct. 25, 2011.  Photo by REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra.

Topics covered

salafist, popular front, ennahda, arab

Oct 10, 2012

Tunisian left-wing parties have formed a unified political alliance. The alliance, called the Popular Front, seeks to counter to the two extremes of Tunisia's political spectrum: the Ennahda movement and Nidaa Tunis (an anti-Islamist party). Former Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi leads the Popular Front, which also includes several political leaders who served under President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The coalition was announced at a rally organized by the Workers' Party, led by Hamma al-Hammami, the People's Party, led by Chokri Belaid and the Vanguard Party, led by Ahmad al-Siddiq.

Hamma al-Hammami told El-Khabar that the alliance represents an attempt to break the bipolar political monopoly that Ennahda and Nidaa Tunis want to impose on Tunisia in advance of upcoming political milestones. Those include national dialogue sessions, set to begin on Oct. 16, the end of the transitional phase on Oct. 23 and the beginning of preparations for the upcoming elections.

Hammami said that the Popular Front alliance is comprised of peasants, laborers, employees and students who don't belong either to Ennahda, which is associated with Qatar, or to Nidaa Tunis, which is backed by American imperialists.

Chokri Belaid, head of the Movement of Democratic Patriots, said that the Popular Front would seek to keep Tunisia's decision-making process independent, avoiding domination by the Gulf and Qatar or by French and American imperialism.

He said that the Tunisian people were determined to achieve the objectives of the Jan. 14 revolution, whose second anniversary is three months away.

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