Tunisia dissident, Mohsen Marzouk, opens new party congress

More than 3,000 people attend opening of constitutional congress in Tunis, which will continue for next two days in Hammamet.

Marzouk bases his policies on those of independence leader Habib Bourguiba

2016-07-24 14:05:51

TUNIS - Tunisian dissident Mohsen Marzouk opened a congress of his new party on Saturday, rejecting religion in politics and vowing to be a force for change.

Marzouk launched the Tounes Movement Project in March, basing his policies on those of independence leader Habib Bourguiba.

More than 3,000 people attended Saturday's opening of the constitutional congress in Tunis, which will continue for the next two days in the northeastern town of Hammamet.

"We are in total disagreement with all those who mix politics and religion," Marzouk said, referring to the Islamist Ennahda party, which controls the most seats in parliament.

"The time has come to reform the country. We are the party of reform and we have decided to be a force for constructive plans," party founding member Mondher Belhaj Ali said.

Marzouk stepped down as secretary general of Nidaa Tounes after a split with the president's son, Hafedh Caid Essebsi, over who should take over as leader.

Tensions came to a head in October after accusations that Essebsi supporters wielding sticks had blocked rival party members from a meeting of its executive committee.

The crisis saw 22 lawmakers leave Nidaa Tounes in January to form their own Al-Horra (The Free) bloc, making Ennahda the largest group in parliament.

Nidaa Tounes now has only 64 MPs as against 69 for Ennahda.

Nidaa Tounes was created in 2012 and included political personalities from the left and centre right, as well as officials from the former regime of toppled ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The political backbiting comes as Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab Spring, has been gripped by protests against poverty and unemployment in the worst social unrest since the 2011 revolution.

Editors' Picks

The Arab Weekly Newspaper reaches Western & Arabic audience that are influential as well as being affluent.

From Europe to the Middle East,and North America, The Arab Weekly talks to opinion formers and influential figures, providing insight and comment on national, international and regional news through the focus of Arabic countries and community.

Published by Al Arab Publishing House

Publisher and Group Executive Editor: Haitham El-Zobaidi, PhD

Editor-in-Chief: Oussama Romdhani

Managing Editor: Iman Zayat

Deputy Managing Editor and Online Editor: Mamoon Alabbasi

Senior Editor: John Hendel

Chief Copy Editor: Richard Pretorius

Copy Editor: Stephen Quillen

Analysis Section Editor: Ed Blanche

East/West Section Editor: Mark Habeeb

Gulf Section Editor: Mohammed Alkhereiji

Society and Travel Sections Editor: Samar Kadi

Syria and Lebanon Sections Editor: Simon Speakman Cordall

Contributing Editor: Rashmee Roshan Lall

Senior Correspondents: Mahmud el-Shafey (London) & Lamine Ghanmi (Tunis)

Regular Columnists

Claude Salhani

Yavuz Baydar


Saad Guerraoui (Casablanca)

Dunia El-Zobaidi (London)

Roua Khlifi (Tunis)

Thomas Seibert (Washington)

Chief Designer: Marwen Hmedi


Ibrahim Ben Bechir

Hanen Jebali

Published by Al Arab Publishing House

Contact editor at:editor@thearabweekly.com

Subscription & Advertising: Ads@alarab.co.uk

Tel 020 3667 7249

Mohamed Al Mufti

Marketing & Advertising Manager

Tel (Main) +44 20 6702 3999

Direct: +44 20 8742 9262


Al Arab Publishing House

Kensington Centre

177-179 Hammersmith Road

London W6 8BS , UK

Tel: (+44) 20 7602 3999

Fax: (+44) 20 7602 8778

Follow Us
© The Arab Weekly, All rights reserved