Tunisian MP Blasts Ennahda’s ‘Islamist’ Draft Constitution

Article Summary
Tunisian MP Samia Abbou takes issue with the ruling Ennahda Movement’s draft constitution for ‘Islamizing’ the state.

Yesterday’s partners have become today’s enemies. For Samia Abbou, this rude awakening is hard to deal with. After her disappointment with President Moncef Marzouki and his Congress for the Republic Party (CPR), here she is attacking her Ennahda “friends.” She is targeting the evil plan of Islamists to establish a constitution that paves the way for a theocratic republic.

In recent weeks, Ettayar MP Samia Abbou has been the target of violent campaigns launched by Ennahda militants. This morning, it was the turn of one of her colleagues in the Constituent Assembly of Tunisia (ANC) to verbally offend her. Apparently, the aforementioned person did not like that Abbou dismissed the draft constitution as Islamist. What was worse was that Abbou had used a relatively pejorative term — ikhwenji, meaning a Brotherhood supporter — to describe the draft, due to the various dubious articles therein.

Faced with high-decibel voices and verbal aggression, Abbou might as well vanish.

Abbou is being targeted because she is leading a campaign against Ennahda’s plans to Islamize the constitution. Yet, Ennahda’s draft did not present anything new. Why, then, has Abbou suddenly “woken up” now?

Also read

If memory serves us right, it was in September 2012, when Abbou, with an air of disdain, scolded her colleague Abdelaziz el-Kotti on Nessma TV. She said, “We live in a dream and you're messing it up for us!”

At the time, Abbou was all lovey-dovey with the CPR and its ally, Ennahda. All she needed was a tiny scarf to become more Islamist than Islamists themselves.

Her husband, Mohamed Abbou, brought up several means to attack the opponents who dared to criticize the ANC and its legitimacy.

The Abbou couple was targeting the democrats, civil society and the media, which [according to them] “do not want to let the government work and the ANC draft its constitution.”

At the time, the democrats had already seen the first signs of a constitution lurking on the horizon and paving the way for a theocratic republic. Yet they stood helpless, despite their objection to this concept. They could not even compel their candidate, Dean Fadhel Moussa, to oppose Habib Khedhr, who was fiercely defended by the CPR and Ennahda.

The democrats already saw the evil strategy of Islamist MPs to play the game of stages and to set the stakes high so that their future concessions are considered acquisitions from the democrats, although the end result should not at all be accepted, since it pushes Tunisia backwards.

Throughout 2012 and part of 2013, Ettakatol and CPR MPs constantly defended their Islamist colleagues. Throughout this period also, the democrats repeatedly drew attention to the dangers of the Islamist strategy — one that the Abbou couple was fully aware of and supported, until a breach of the tacit agreement took place.

However, this breach did not occur with the publication of the final draft of the constitution, but before.

In February 2013, in the midst of the revision negotiations, Mohamed Abbou’s name was proposed for the position of minister of trade. Abbou had resigned from his position as secretary general for the CPR, but he agreed to suspend his resignation (that was the new trend in Tunisia) and to participate in the government, provided that Ennahda dismiss some of his colleagues. Abbou had his eyes set on Sihem Badi, Abdelwahab Maater and Slim Ben Hemidene.

However, Ennahda made its choice and dismissed Abbou — a move that stuck in his throat. As soon as the new government was announced, without Mohamed Abbou’s participation, he submitted his official resignation. A few months later, Abbou started his own party, Ettayar. Naturally, Samia Abbou joined her husband. Ever since, both have gone out of their way to cast aspersions on Ennahda and to publicly criticize the Islamist party and its draft constitution — one they had long supported.

Yet, the Abbou couple is not violently criticizing Ennahda merely out of vengeance.

Both Abbous were elected as secular candidates on the CPR lists. Yet, it was only a matter of months before the party’s secular nature went down the drain. Nevertheless, this did not seem to bother them much, as they kept on defending Ennahda’s draft constitution and talking about dreams, despite constant warnings from democrats and the media.

In February 2013, things took a different turn. Overnight, the Abbous found themselves without any support — neither from the CPR, which they left, nor from Ennahda, which forsook them.

Abandoned by the Islamists and deprived of their support, they had only the secular camp to turn to. In an attempt to lure back the latter, they put on the act of freedom defenders and opponents of any regressive draft constitution. They were hoping to find support from the Union for Tunisia, which neither backs the Islamist camp nor the democrats who joined forces with the former Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD).

Assuming that the majority of Tunisians (two thirds of them) do not want any Islamist projects in their country, and firmly believing that the Union for Tunisia will remain fragile as long as it is associated with former Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi and former RCD members, Mohamed and Samia Abbou are trying to cast their net wide with this new policy that denounces the Islamization of the constitution.

Therefore, that Samia Abbou did not show up this morning at the ANC is just another episode that does not have much significance in the series of events that began a few months ago and that will continue for a few more. A while ago, in the same context, she played on people’s emotions in the Express FM studios, becausee she knows that the emotional part plays a big role in the classical lessons of political schools.

Samia Abbou spoke of a dream and that dream ended in February. However, she is still clinging to it, but this time she has changed the players of the game so that they wear the orange color of her party and its old secular values ​​that were put on the side during her affair with Ennahda.

Continue reading this article by registering at no cost and get unlimited access to:

  • The award-winning Middle East Lobbying - The Influence Game
  • Archived articles
  • Exclusive events
  • The Week in Review
  • Lobbying newsletter delivered weekly
Found in: political opportunism, islamist
Next for you

The website uses cookies and similar technologies to track browsing behavior for adapting the website to the user, for delivering our services, for market research, and for advertising. Detailed information, including the right to withdraw consent, can be found in our Privacy Policy. To view our Privacy Policy in full, click here. By using our site, you agree to these terms.