On Wednesday, a general session was launched to hold the Tunisian Parliament Speaker, Rashid Ghannoushi, accountable for diplomatic interference in Libyan affairs. This is in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 141, of the Parliament’s internal regulations.
This decision was taken during the meeting of the Tunisian Parliament office on the 22nd of May, to consider the regulation put forward by the Free Destourian Party. The party demanded the refusal of foreign interference in Libya, and to clarify the official position of the Parliament on this issue. It stressed the necessity to keep Tunisia away from aligning itself with any party of the conflict in Libya.
The Free Destourian Party, in addition to other parliamentary blocs, strongly rejects the intervention of Ghannoushi in diplomatic affairs. This comes after his controversial phone call with the Libyan Prime Minister of the Government for National Accord (GNA), Fayez Al-Sarraj, on the 19th of May, in which he congratulated the latter for taking control of the Al-Watiya airbase.
The regulation submitted by the Free Destourian Party bloc (16 members) aims to have Parliament formally, and publicly reject foreign interference in the Libyan crisis. According to the regulation, the bloc also rejects Ghannoushi’s actions, which have been described as “vague, and contrary to laws and diplomatic norms”. Ghannoushi has previously held closed, and unannounced meetings with Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Party also launched a petition to withdraw confidence from Ghannoushi, and collected more than 80,000 signatures, according to a statement issued by the party recently. In a joint statement, four other parliamentary blocs, namely the ‘Heart of Tunisia’, ‘Reform Front’, ‘Long Live Tunisia’, and ‘The Future’, called on the Presidency, to “respect diplomatic norms, and avoid overlapping powers with the rest of the authorities” in line with Tunisian diplomacy. They requested bringing the matter to the attention of the first public session for deliberation.
Various Tunisian parties, especially leftist leaning ones, in addition to the Tunisian General Labor Union, criticised Ghannoushi’s actions in Libya. They strongly condemned the phone call between Ghannoushi, and Al-Sarraj, saying that it was “bypassing state institutions, and implicating them in the Libyan conflict by aligning with a specific party”.
The Tunisian Ennahda Movement stressed that the plenary session held on Wednesday, was not an accountability session for Ghannoushi, but rather a dialogue session on parliamentary diplomacy in regard to the situation in Libya. It rejected the request of other parliamentary blocs to withdraw confidence from the Speaker of the Parliament.
A member of the Reform bloc, Nisreen Al-Ammari, stated that her party will not participate in the petition to withdraw confidence from Ghannoushi due to the absence of an alternative.
Ennahda leaders also confirmed, that the withdrawal of confidence from Ghannoushi was not up for discussion, according to the Tunisian News Agency.