Tunisia’s troubled talks

Tunisia’s now suspended national dialogue talks have thus far failed to end the country’s political impasse triggered by the July 25 political assassination of leftist Popular Front Member of Parliament (MP) Mohamed Brahimi. The Ennahda led government had agreed to a conditional resignation and to sit with the opposition to arrive at a consensus candidate for yet another care-taker prime minister. Ennahda, however, is keen to demonstrate what its leader Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi has reassured his followers: they are only giving up the government and not power. This has only precipitated the latest round of political squabbling and as the November 15 deadline for the resignation of the Ennahda government looms, the opposition is threatening a return to street protests.

It is unclear if the ruling Troika and the opposition National Salvation Front (NSF) will agree on a consensus prime minister in time after weeks of deadlock. In light of the recent suspension of the talks, the certainty of Tunisia’s future political stability remains uncertain, and Ennahda’s place in it is an even more complicated question. The heated and fluid political environment can either be viewed as healthy dynamism unseen elsewhere in the region or rather a slow and painful road toward an inevitable outcome of confrontation like that of Egypt’s.

This article was originally published in Foreign Policy.