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Tens of thousands march to support Tunisia’s largest political party

Tunisia’s biggest political party Ennahda rallied an immense crowd of supporters in the capital in a show of strength that could fuel an ongoing dispute between the president and prime minister.

In one of the biggest demonstrations in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution, tens of thousands of party faithful marched through central Tunis chanting "the people want national unity".

The country's latest political crisis began when the 2019 election delivered a fragmented parliament while propelling Kais Saied, an independent, to the presidency.

Saied nominated fellow independent Hichem Mechichi as prime minister last summer when the government collapsed after only five months in office, but the two men soon fell out.

The moderate Islamist party Ennahda, led by Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, has now backed Mechichi in his standoff with Saied over a cabinet reshuffle.

Last month, Mechichi changed 11 ministers in a reshuffle seen as replacing allies of Saied with those of Ennahda and jailed media mogul Nabil Karoui's party Heart of Tunisia. The president has refused to swear-in four of them, however, saying they had conflicts of interest.

The head of the Ennahda party in parliament, Imed Khamiri, said the "responsible parties" must meet at the dialogue table to find a solution.

Ennahda billed Saturday's march as "in support of democracy," but it was widely seen as an effort to mobilize popular backing against Saied - raising the specter of competing protest movements that could lead to polarization or violence.

(Source: Reuters) 

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