Five Tunisian parties seek to oust Ghanouchi as parliament speaker

TUNIS (Reuters) – At least five Tunisian parties plan to launch a vote of no confidence in the speaker of parliament, Rchaed Ghanouchi, the leader of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, politicians said on Sunday.

The no-confidence motion poses the biggest challenge yet to Ennahda, which was swept to power after the Arab Spring, but which was forced to step down in 2013.

Pressure on the government has also mounted in recent weeks after opponents called for the resignation of Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh over an alleged conflict of interest.

Mohammed Ammar from Attayar party, said that four parliamentary blocs agreed to start the process of withdrawing confidence from the speaker, citing numerous violations, poor management and unilateral decisions that serve partisan interests.

These blocs include the Tahya Tounes, Attayar and Chaab parties, which are in the coalition with Ennahda.

The Free Constitutional party led by Abir Moussi, a supporter of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali‮ ‬overthrown by the 2011 revolution, has campaigned to oust Ghanouchi for weeks.

Moussi’s party accused Ghanouchi of serving the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda and foreign allies, including Turkey and Qatar.

Ghanouchi has rejected these accusations, arguing that Tunisians want a government focused on economic and social policy, not political in-fighting.

Procedures for withdrawing confidence require the signature of 73 members of the house for it to be put to a public vote. To succeed, 109 lawmakers will need to vote for no-confidence.

The five parties have about 90 members.

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