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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

113 Ennahdha members resign amid Tunisia political crisis
A picture shows the Habib Bourguiba avenue in Tunis. Tunisia's largest political party, Ennahda, has called President Kais Saied's moves 'a flagrant coup against democratic legitimacy' and called for people to unite and defend democracy in 'a tireless peaceful struggle'. -- AFP
A picture shows the Habib Bourguiba avenue in Tunis. Tunisia's largest political party, Ennahda, has called President Kais Saied's moves 'a flagrant coup against democratic legitimacy' and called for people to unite and defend democracy in 'a tireless peaceful struggle'. -- AFP

TUNIS: More than 100 members of Tunisia's Ennahdha party announced on Saturday their resignation from the party over "bad choices" by their chief that had deepened the country's political crisis.


Members of parliament, former cabinet ministers and party leaders are among the 113 Ennahdha members who left, they said in a statement.


"The current party leadership is responsible for (Ennahdha's) isolation and largely for the deteriorating situation in the country," it said.


It pointedly blamed party leader Rached Ghannouchi for making "bad political choices" and striking "inappropriate alliances" with other movements that "undermined Ennahdha's credibility".


Ghannouchi had "failed" and "refused all the advice" that was given to him, the statement added.


In July, President Kais Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament, removed the immunity of lawmakers and put himself in charge of prosecutions.


On Wednesday, Saied announced decrees that strengthen the powers of his office at the expense of the government and parliament, saying he will rule by decree.


Ennahdha, Saied's archfoe with the largest bloc in parliament, had already condemned the president's July power grab as a "coup d'etat".


it said this week that Saied's measures risked setting in motion the dismantling of the state.


And on Thursday, Ghannouchi called for a "peaceful struggle" against a return to "absolute one-man rule" in Tunisia.


Ghannouchi admitted however that his party was in part responsible for Saied's power grab.


"Ennahdha is not in power but it backed the government, despite some criticism we had," he said.


Tunisia has seen years of political deadlock since its 2011 revolution that ousted autocratic president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.


Fractious coalitions and short-lived governments since the uprising have failed to resolve mounting social and economic crises.


Ghannouchi founded Ennahdha four decades ago and has remained at the helm ever since despite years of exile under the rule of Ben Ali. -- AFP


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