US media has reported that the political party representing the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia has handed over the government in the last act of a negotiated transition. According to a New York Times report:
January 29, 2014 TUNIS — Tunisia’s Islamist party Ennahda ceded power on Tuesday to a caretaker government, ending a strife-ridden two years as the country’s first elected government after the Arab Spring of 2011. The government departed under pressure, criticized for failing to halt rising terrorism and steady a faltering economy, but Ennahda was nevertheless assured of its place in Tunisian politics.
Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh is handing the reins of government to Mehdi Jomaa, a technocrat who was his minister for industry. Mr. Jomaa was chosen by a consensus of political parties to lead the country into elections later in the year. He presented his cabinet to the National Constituent Assembly and won approval in a vote early in the morning on Wednesday.
The change of government was the last piece of a negotiated transition to resolve five months of political deadlock after the assassination of the leftist politician Mohamed Brahmi in July. Parties came together Sunday night to pass the country’s new Constitution, which was signed into law on Monday by the president, the prime minister and the speaker before the assembly.
‘I have a feeling of pride that our young democracy is alive despite the difficulties and trials,’ Mr. Laarayedh said in a packed assembly hall at the signing ceremony. ‘We should be proud at what we have achieved and continue on the same road with God’s guidance, having confidence in ourselves and our people.’”
Ennahda came to power in 2011 after decades of persecution under the government of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, during which the Islamist movement was outlawed and its followers barred from political life. Many of its leaders were imprisoned or exiled, including Mr. Laarayedh.
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The GMBDW reported in September 2013 that Ennahda had agreed to step down and handover power to an independent caretaker government. In December, Reuters reported that Ennahda and opposition parties agreed onto finish their handover to a caretaker government by January 14, the third anniversary of the fall of former leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.
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 UK. based Henry Jackson Society has published a report detailing the extremist positions and statements of the Tunisian Ennahda party and its leader Rachid Ghannouchi.