Tunisia: two blocs not enough, Rihahi may hold key

'Tunisian Berlusconi' has 16 seats, is presidential candidate

30 October, 17:10

    (ANSAmed) - TUNIS, OCTOBER 30 - The Tunisian political landscape emerging from the final results of Sunday's legislative vote confirms a system divided in two main blocs with 85 seats going to Nidaa Tounes and 69 to Ennhadha, with no one holding the majority. Alliances will therefore be necessary to gain a parliamentary majority, 109 representatives out of a total of 217 . Many conjectures about future parliamentary cartels have been floating around in the last few hours, some have even suggested the idea of a "grand coalition" between the two rival parties. However, at the moment, these are all suppositions as the main players have chosen to postpone any decisions until the election of the President of the Republic scheduled for November 23.

    The one party that could tip the balance one way or another, is the Free Patriotic Union (Upl) of 42 year old businessman Slim Rihahi, holding 16 members of parliament. While campaigning Rihahi called Nidaa Tounes a "disposable" party banking on the fear of Ennhadha's return to power, on the other hand he also said the islamic party led by Rached Gannouchi was the "symbol of incompetence".

    Rihahi has been striving to appear close to the people and alien to ideology. He calls his party "pragmatic" and realist, and describes his prime goals as the reduction of inequalities and job-growth. Listed by Wealth-X as the richest man of Tunisia, Rihahi is the president of one of the country's best known football teams, the Club Africaine de Tunis, an association responsible for the nickname "Tunisian Berlusconi". However, Rihahi is also one of the 27 presidential candidates, while Ennhadha has chosen not to file any candidates. (ANSAmed).

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