0617 GMT October 28, 2021
More than 100 prominent officials of Tunisia's Ennahda party, including lawmakers and former ministers, resigned on Saturday in protest at the leadership's performance, the biggest blow yet to the party which is facing a severe split.
Ennahda, the largest party in parliament, has been thrown into crisis by its response to President Kais Saied's sacking of the government and suspension of parliament on July 25, an intervention the opposition called a coup, Reuters reported.
In a statement, 113 senior officials from the party said they had resigned due to wrong choices by Ennahda's leadership, which had led to its isolation and failure to engage in any common front to confront Saied's decisions.
Since Saied's move two months ago, Ennahda officials have demanded that their leader Rached Ghannouchi, the parliament speaker, resign over the party's response to the crisis and strategic choices he has made since a 2019 election.
Ennahda has been the most powerful party in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution that led to the ousting of its long-time president, playing a role in backing successive coalition governments.
However, it lost support as the economy stagnated and public services declined.
Ghannouchi last month dismissed the party’s executive committee in an effort to calm the protests against him.
On Thursday, Ghannouchi called for "peaceful struggle" against a return to "absolute one-man rule", a day after Saied took steps towards rule by decree.
"There is no longer any alternative to struggle, naturally a peaceful struggle," Ghannouchi said in an interview with AFP.
Saied on Wednesday announced decrees that strengthen the powers of his office at the expense of the government and parliament.