Tunisia’s Blooming Political Scene Receives Billions in Aid Assistance
Wafa Ben Hassine reports in Jadaliyya today about the blossoming political scene in Tunisia. It notes how partisan activities have prospered in post-revolution Tunisia, noting that what was more-or-less a one party system now has officially 118 parties. Issues such as the role of religion, freedom of expression, and civil liberties have been hotly debated. With such a plethora of political actors, Jadaliyya notes that its sometimes hard to keep track. However, as time progresses it is now “a matter of survival of the fittest.”
Ben Hassine claims that Ennahda is by far the most organized party. “Unmatched in Tunisia’s political terrain,” Ennahda is tightly fastened together due to is activities abroad after being exiled under the Ben Ali regime. Ennahda’s political platform, directly tied to a shared religious worldview, has increased their level of political coherence. Ennahda has formed a coalition with the leading secularist parties. The Congress for the Repulic (CPR) and Ettakatol have successfully negotiated (see the Troika Negotiations) with Ennahda in order to divide up ministerial and government posts. However, the article notes that CPR has split into two camps: one pro-Troika and the other that intends to strengthen the party’s influence in government. Ettakatol has been plagued by resignations. Ben Hassine concludes that in order for there to remain a truly pluralistic political landscape, each of the two opposition parties (CPR & Ettakatol) must reassess their electoral standing.
Meanwhile, U.S. military aid to Tunisia has more than doubled, according to General Carter Ham. Ham announced in a press conference on the 24th that the U.S has provided $32 million in aid during the last year and trained nearly 4,000 Tunisian military personnel. At the press conference, Ham said al-Qaida activity would be a potential threat to security and described arms smuggling as “real danger threatening the region.” The U.S., on March 29th, pledged $100 million to Tunisia in order to help their transition to democracy and pay its debts to boost its economy. Other countries have also have committed aid assistance. Today, Qatar pledged a billion dollars to Tunisia while simultaneously offering to host 20,000 migrant workers.