Step by step, the once-shunned officials of Tunisia’s old order have returned to the political scene and are turning up the pressure on the governing Islamist party Ennahda to make way for them.
These so-called “remnants” from Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s rule were swept aside by the first of the “Arab Spring” revolts in January 2011 and trounced in voting for a constituent assembly later that year. The assembly has considered banning them from politics completely.
But two murders of leftist leaders this year by suspected radical Salafis and mounting dissatisfaction with Ennahda’s Islamist agenda have plunged Tunisian politics into turmoil, prompting the assembly to suspend its work.
Since the second assassination in late July, ex-officials regrouped in new political parties have spoken out more openly and helped organize and fill the ranks of mass rallies to demand Ennahda step aside and allow new elections.