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Nidaa Tounes is ‘finished’ says Tunisian party's general secretary

Comments by Mohsen Marzouq raise prospect of schism following months of internal splits, a mass resignation and claims of an attempted power grab
Mohsen Marzouq accuses the president's son of trying to seize power in the party (AFP)

The general secretary of Nidaa Tounes has said that his party is “finished”, raising the prospect of a schism following months of internal disputes, divisions and resignations.

Speaking to Tunisian news site al-Sarih on Friday, Mohsen Marzouq said: “The time has come for me to say clearly that Nidaa Tounes is finished and has been for some time.”

Marzouq said he had attempted to save the party, currently leading Tunisia’s coalition government, but was now seeking to move on.

“All the options are open,” Marzouq said, indicating that he could look to establish a new party.

Nidaa Tounes, which previously held the balance of power in a coalition government ruling Tunisia, has been riven by internal disputes for months.

Last month 32 Nidaa Tounes MPs, over a quarter of the party’s total stake, resigned their position amid a bitter row in which they support Marzouq.

Marzouq accuses party vice president Hafedh Caid Essebsi of attempting a power grab within the party after regulations forced his father, Beiji Caid Essebsi, to resign the party leadership on becoming president of Tunisia following elections last year.

The pro-Marzouq bloc withdrew after accusing Essebsi's supporters of attending a party meeting armed with sticks and preventing their rivals from entering.

The mass resignation would leave Tunisia’s Ennahda party, previously a junior member of the coalition, with a majority in the power-sharing government.

However, over a month later it remains unclear whether the resignation has been accepted by the leader of Nidaa Tounes’s parliamentary bloc.

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