vendredi 11 novembre 2011

Mixed reactions from the Islamists to the controversy


Hamadi Jebali, Secretary General of Ennahda.
It’s the Secretary General and candidate for the position of Prime Minister of the Islamic party Ennahda, Hamadi Jebali, that had to reply publicly to the controversial statements made by Souad Abderrahim the day before.

Ms. Abderrahim, during a radio interview on Wednesday, had stated that single mothers represent “a disgrace for Tunisia and that they shouldn’t have the right to exist.” She also said that “there is no place in Tunisia for absolute liberty. Liberty must be respectful of religious beliefs.”

Faced with outraged reactions in the media and on social networks, M. Jebali, without condemning or expressing disapproval to his colleague’s statements, simply said “that improvement of the status of women in Tunisia remains a central element of Ennahda’s political program.” Pressed by questions from journalists, he surprised many by stating “I haven’t heard Ms. Abderrahim comments...”

Then asked about the rights that single mothers should benefit from, he mentioned that they “must be treated the same way as any other Tunisian citizen.”

Souad Adberrahim
Ms. Abderrahim also commented on the controversy she created the day before in an interview with the online newspaper Tunisia-live.net. Far from retracting herself, she said that the topic of single mothers is “disturbing” and that “nobody wants to hear about it.” She then confronted those that had denounced her on social networks and blogs by saying that these individuals “were only looking to distract public attention from the main issues.”

These reactions coming from two members who occupy very important positions in the hierarchy of the Islamic party are startling. Firstly, the number two person in the party, who is potentially the next Prime Minister of Tunisia, contradicts his colleague while repeating that he hasn’t heard the comments that are everywhere on the Internet and in the media. And secondly, Ms. Adberrahim maintains her views and accuses those that criticize her of simply trying to divert public opinion. This is a story that we are going to hear about again in the next days and weeks.

News from the Constituent Assembly and elsewhere

The Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) announced today that the final and complete results of the October 23rd election would be revealed on November 14th. Last week, electoral observers from the European Union asked the ISIE to disclose the number of votes for each riding and polling station as quickly as possible. However, the ISIE wished to wait until all protests concerning the election had been addressed by the Administrative Court, a process that finished yesterday.

As for the beginning of the Constituent Assembly, following a decree by interim President Fouad Mebazaa, everything is expected to start on Tuesday November 22nd.

On a complete different subject, we learned today that the most controversial candidate of the elections and leader of the Aridha Chaabia party, Hachmi Hamdi, will arrive in Tunis on Saturday. It seems a great number of his supporters will be at the airport to greet him.

M. Hamdi was in London throughout the electoral campaign preferring to make televised appearances on his private station El Mostakeella, instead of being in Tunisia. Aridha Chaabia is the party that had eight of its candidates disqualified for electoral fraud before the Administrative Court overturned the decision and reinstated seven elected of its candidates.

Kate and William.
Finally, for gossip fans, Tunisia’s Minister of Tourism, while in London for a conference, invited the recently married royal couple, Kate and William, to make an official visit to the country.

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