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Hammami: Opposition Didn’t Reject Participation in Negotiations of the National Union Government | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Après la défaite d’al Massar, Hamma Hammami porte les espoirs de la gauche.
Photo : Anis Mili/Reuters

Tunisia- Hamma Hammami, spokesperson of the Popular Front from the Tunisian opposition said that President Beji Caid Essebsi’s call to compose a national unity government aims at hiding the crisis of “Nidaa Tounes”, which witnesses splits and interior conflicts.

During an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Hammami added that the main problem in Tunisia is not the coverage of the economic deficit, yet it is the capacity of ruling the country and finding suitable solutions for the crisis.

Following is the interview wrap up:

*How do you see the Tunisian President’s initiative, which calls for composition of national unity government? And why did the Popular Front withdrew from the ongoing negotiations?

– The word “crisis” has been used for long among media outlets, civil society entourages, and social associations, and the talk about a “crisis” is not new, but the authority didn’t admit it. Yet, finally the President acknowledged the failure of the ruling coalition and proposed the national union government.

The Popular Front considers that the admittance is not sufficient, and that reasons behind it should be tackled in all their aspects so we can save the country.
We refused to participate in negotiations to avoid being false witnesses.

*Where do you see weakness points in the proposal paper?

– All the thoughts mentioned in the paper are nothing more than public slogans about corruption, smuggling, and terrorism combat. The paper lacks practical plans and procedures for real solutions.

*Why does the Popular Front insist on staying in the opposition and out of the political consensus in Tunisia?

– This is not true. The Front participated in the national dialogue and was among parties that called for it. Yet this time we didn’t participate because we are convinced that it will be nothing more than a mean to solve the regime’s problems.

*Do you seek to compose a national unity government that doesn’t include “Ennahda” party?

– We have never proposed such a thing and we always seek “Ennahda’s” participation so we can make a serious discussion on terrorism, which is delayed by the ruling coalition.

*Why didn’t you attend in “Ennahda’s” last congress, and how do you see it?

– We didn’t attend because we are against any useless political participation. We also have many conflicts with the party since two leaders from the Front were assassinated during its rule. As per the results, I see they were very weak compared with the budget allocated to hold this congress.

*How do you see the proposed national reconciliation, and what does it require to succeed?

– Recently, the economic reconciliation matter has been brought back for discussions. However, the ruling parties want to resolve the issue without referring to the constitution, which means that the presidency seeks to obstruct the interim path of justice and to reconcile figures involved in corruption.

*Tunisia is preparing for national municipal elections in March. How do you plan to run them?

– We are really aware of the importance of these elections because they will definitely affect the parliamentary ones. The Front is preparing to compose a civil coalition to run this battle.

*Can we see that the Tunisian opposition is weak, while the country needs an active and influential one?

– Yes, the opposition is weak, as it is represented by only 35 out of 217 seats in the parliament. However, despite this quantitative weakness, the opposition has succeeded in obstructing many suspicious draft laws and legislations’ amendments.

*How do you evaluate the performance of the President?

– I said once that the failure in the country is caused by the government, the presidency, and the ruling majority in the parliament. The president called for more provisions for himself, while he didn’t use the current ones to save Tunisia from its hard situation.

*How do you see Tunisia’s future?

– Honestly, in spite that the country’s situation is hard and obscure at many levels, yet I feel optimistic because the people enjoy a high national spirit and didn’t seek a foreign intervention.