Tunis — An end to Tunisia's political stalemate may be on the horizon, now that the ruling Ennahda Movement's Shura Council has left the door open for dialogue with the opposition.
"Ennahda wants a national dialogue that brings together the various parties in order to seek solutions to the political crisis experienced by the country," Shura Council head Fethi Ayedi said on Sunday (August 18th).
Ennahda had already accepted a plan offered by Tunisia's most powerful labour union to launch talks.
After meeting with Ennahda President Rached Ghannouchi last Thursday, General Labour Union (UGTT) head Hussain Abbasi said the ruling Islamist party had agreed to a dialogue.
The UGTT proposal consists mainly of dissolving the current government and choosing an independent national figure to form a government of competencies. In addition, the "leagues for the protection of the revolution" would be dismantled, and educational institutions and cultural spaces would be neutral.
A day after the Shura Council comments, however, the centre-left National Salvation Front said that dissolving the government and the National Constituent Assembly, and forming a government of technocrats, were necessary for the country to continue the democratic process.
Mahmoud Baroudi of the Democratic Alliance agreed that no dialogue could take place before the dissolution of the government, at a minimum.
For his part, Hamma Hammami, the leader of the leftist Popular Front, said it was time for Ennahda to 'listen to the voice of reason".
"The Popular Front still considers the crisis to be ongoing and even to be getting deeper in more areas," he said Thursday.
Faced with this political tug-of-war, anxious Tunisians have become obsessed with following current events. Their most pressing question: "Where are we going?"
"We are afraid of the Egyptian scenario," said .Khaled Kammoun, a university professor. "We must agree on a solution that would satisfy everyone. It is best to form a non-partisan government," he told Magharebia.
Habib Kaddour, a government employee, finds recent indicators reassuring. He said, "The decision of Ennahdha to accept the principle of dissolving the government is positive, for there is a failure in many areas and the economy is collapsing."
Radhia Abdul Kafi, also a government employee, expressed her satisfaction with the dissolution of the government but opposed the exclusion of the Islamist party from political life.
Meanwhile, Nidaa Tounes head Beji Caid Essebsi met with Rashid Ghannouchi in Paris for secret talks. Ghannouchi allegedly offered Caid Essebsi the possibility of leading ministries, and also of dropping the idea of forming a new government until October 23rd.
Caid Essebsi reportedly rejected the offer.