an opposition coalition that brings together Ennahda and Qalb

Tunisian opponent Ahmed Néjib Chebbi has started the National Salvation Front, a new political group that brings together two heavyweights: the Islamist party Ennahda and the businessman Nabil Karoui’s Qalb Tounès movement. Minor movements complete it. For Ahmed Néjib Chebbi, this front must “save” Tunisia. He wants to unite political forces to restore the democratic process undermined by President Kaïs Saïed’s constitutional coup.

With this new formation, Ahmed Nejib Chebbi engages in arm wrestling with the president. The 78-year-old lawyer is a left-wing figure with a unifying profile. He has never held particularly high positions, but “he is a long-standing opponent who has political credit and respectability,” says one researcher.

Ennahda is a bridgehead for its National Salvation Front. The Islamists had 53 MPs out of 217 before the parliament was dissolved in March. “The movement retains popularity even if it is isolated, weakened, responsible for the failures of previous governments,” said one observer.

Next to him there is also Qalb Tounes, which had 28 elected members. A party that has been “criticized by the Covid leadership and a corruption scandal that has tarnished its image”, entrusts a connoisseur. However, this coalition, which is open to all, has not been full. Some parties are wary of Ennahda, especially the non-participating democratic bloc.

Creating this group is still a challenge President Kais Saied, as it establishes political polarization and a balance of power with the head of state. But it is also an alternative to the president’s roadmap, which provides for a constitutional referendum in July and then parliamentary elections in December. Ahmed Néjib Chebbi is asking him for a national dialogue and the appointment of a salvation government during a transition that will lead to a new vote.

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