In what appears to be another major blow to the Global Muslim Brotherhood, the New York Times is reporting that the the Tunisian ruling party, Ennahda, has agreed to step down and handover power to an independent caretaker government. According to a New York Times report:
September 28, 2013 TUNIS — Tunisia’s governing Islamist party, Ennahda, thrust into power by the Arab Spring, has agreed to step down after months of political wrangling with a hard-bargaining opposition.
In three weeks, the Ennahda-led government is to hand over power to an independent caretaker government that will lead the country through elections in the spring. The deal comes as part of negotiations to restart Tunisia’s democratic transition after secular opposition groups, protesting the assassinations of two of their politicians, stalled work on a new constitution and an election law this summer.
The two sides will enter discussions this week mediated by the Tunisian General Labor Union, the nation’s largest. Its deputy secretary general, Bouali Mbarki, announced Ennahda’s acceptance of the plan on Saturday.
The move comes less than three months after the Islamist government of President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, also elected during the Arab Spring uprisings, was ousted by the military.
Ennahda officials have repeatedly made statements in recent weeks signaling the party’s readiness to resign as a way to break the political impasse. The opposition, and the union, have until now pressed for more concrete action.
The union has scheduled three weeks for talks on a new government. During that time, the National Constituent Assembly, the body in charge of writing Tunisia’s new constitution, is expected to ratify it and confirm appointments to the election commission, resuming work after a two-month hiatus. After that, Ennahda’s coalition government will resign.
The assembly, where Ennahda holds the largest bloc of seats, will remain in place to serve as a check on the new government.
Ennahda decided to step down despite resistance from some of its members, saying Tunisia’s transition to democracy, which began after the president was toppled nearly two years ago, can succeed only with full political consensus.
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Ennahda is headed by Rachid Ghannouchi (many spelling variations) who can best be described as an independent Islamist power center who is strongly tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian writer Amany Maged presents his view of the relationship between the Ennahda party of Tunisia and its leader Rachid Ghannouchi to the Global Muslim Brotherhood:
Al-Nahda Party’s articles of association do not declare a link to the Muslim Brotherhood, but nor has it denied the connection. Some sources maintain that it was ideologically and organisationally inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood, whereas others say that while Ghannouchi considers the Muslim Brotherhood an ally, he does not see it as having any authority, be it hierarchical or moral, over his own movement. Yet the fact remains that Ghannouchi, Al-Nahda’s founder, is a member of the International Guidance Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood.Al-Nahda shares a number of traits with the Muslim Brotherhood. Both, says Islamist expert Ali Abdel-Aal, have a strong organisational capacity and access to substantial funds.
The U.K. based Henry Jackson Society has published a report detailing the extremist positions and statements of the Tunisian Ennahda party and its leader Rachid Ghannouchi.