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Ennahda in Government in Tunisia: A Sociological Analysis
Abstract by Dr. Maryam Ben Salem On Session I-8  (Islamists in Government)

On Thursday, November 2 at 3:00 pm

2023 Annual Meeting

The Tunisian Islamist party Ennahda came to power after the fall of the Ben Ali regime in October 2011 after the first and free elections for the Constituent Assembly. Since then, the party has been in power until the July 25 2021 coup by President Kais Saied. Ennahda's model of government is particularly difficult to grasp due to the nature of the political system and the electoral system, which required it to govern in coalition even when it had won the majority of seats (2011 and 2019). The difficulty to pin down how Ennahda in government performed has to do with the constant suspicion towards the party from its coalition s partners and the opposition, as Ennahda was often accused of governing through ideology (Burgat 2020). Three periods mark the party’s experience during which the leaders of Ennahda were in government and held several ministerial positions (employment, industry and trade, information technologies, transport, health, equipment and housing): 1/ 2011-2014: a phase during which the hostility of Islamists toward the state determined the strategy of the movement for the capture of state resources; 2/ 2014-2019 where the depreciation of the resources on which the movement had built its 2011-2013 strategy under the effect of cross-sectoral coups (Dobry 2009) led it to get rid of the "Islamist" label and to highlight the technical and political skills of the members whose dispositions were more in line with the context requirements and institutional positions. The religious dimension, far from being evacuated or limited to conservative values guiding political action, was simply held back (Ben Salem 2019). 3/ 2019-2021: phase characterized by an accentuation of the inter and intra partisan conflicts. Based on an analysis of sectoral policies and data from a field survey with Islamist actors, this article examines the policies implemented by the Islamists in power, focusing on the political trajectories of the figures who occupied institutional positions. More specifically it looks at how socialization into the management of state affairs has contributed to the development of qualifications (savoir-faire and savoir-être) compatible with occupied positions.
Political Science
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