At the opening of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People (ARP) on Tuesday, June 21, Speaker Mohamed Ennaceur formally recognized the return of parliamentarian Mohamed Bouguerra Rachdi to the Nidaa Tounes bloc which now holds 62 seats in the 217 seat ARP. Rachdi had left Nidaa Tounes for a temporary flirtation with the Al-Horra bloc which itself broke away from Nidaa Tounes in January.
Nidaa Tounes is regaining some of the ground it lost to Ennahda after an internal split caused Nidaa Tounes to lose over two dozen deputies and cede its status as the ARP’s largest party in January, as Rachdi’s re-adhesion comes after the adhesion of three deputies from the Free Patriotic Union (UPL-L’Union Patriotique Libre) in May.
Nidaa Tounes 62*
Al Horra 26
Popular Front 15
Social Democrats 10
Afek (Tounes) 10*
*Parties in Ruling Government Coalition
The victor of a plurality of the votes in the 2014 Legislative Elections, the first under the 2014 Constitution, Nidaa Tounes had held 86 seats when the ARP was established.
A wave of resignations from Nidaa Tounes in January marked the formalization of a long running rift between factions of Nidaa Tounes loyal to former Nidaa Tounes Secretary General, Mohsen Marzouk, who resigned from the party in late 2015 over claims Hafedh Essebsi (son of Tunisia’s President and party founder Beji Caid Essebsi) was attempting a hereditary takeover of the party’s leadership.
The resigning Nidaa Tounes deputies called their parliamentary bloc Al Horra while the party formed by Marzouk, with which it is affiliated is known as Machrou Tounes.