Tunisian Islamist Party Responds to Business News Article

Analysis, posted 09.28.2011, from Tunis, Tunisia, in:
Tunisian Islamist Party Responds to Business News Article

Summary: In a letter to the online news site Business News, Tunisian Islamist party Ennahdha replies to an article alleging close parallels between Ennahdha’s recently released campaign platform and the platform of deposed president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Both Mounir Ben Mahmoud, the author of the original article, “The Similarities Between Ennadha’s and Ben Ali’s Platforms,” and Ennahdha open their respective pieces by accusing the other side of statistical inaccuracy.  Ben Mahmoud's highlights in particular Ennahdha’s claim that the party can create 590,000 jobs in five years and lower the 14.5% unemployment rate to 8.5%.  Following some cryptic wrangling about Ben Mahmoud’s statistical approach, Ennahdha points out that its program stands as the “fruit of the experience of [about] one hundred experts.” Much like Ben Mahmoud, Ennahdha then proceeds to offer a slew of numbers, pointing out that their party has promised significantly fewer jobs than did Ben Ali’s entourage and pulling apart Ben Mahmoud’s calculations on how many jobs it will take to lower the unemployment rate.

Still, Ennahdha points out, the fact remains that the government that would be supervising this economic program intends to be very different from the government of Ben Ali: “in reality,” Ennahdha writes, “this model [the Ben Ali model] is characterized by a corrupt State, dominated by the families close to the president, who consider themselves as owners of all capital, public or private, and who see themselves as having the right to the revenues from this capital.”

Ben Mahmoud finishes his article by pointing out that not only Ennahdha, but that all parties – he cites the prominent center-left party the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), the centrist Ettajdid, and the center-right Free Patriotic Union (UPL) – “only reproduce the same schema of development.”

What is noteworthy perhaps, then, is that Ben Mahmoud wrote an article comparing Ennahdha’s platform to that of Ben Ali, while no such comparison between the centrist, non-religious parties and deposed President Ben Ali’s party (the now defunct RCD) had made the headlines.

Ennahdha, perhaps for its own reasons, also does not point out in its reply that other parties could as easily be a target for comparisons of this kind. This is perhaps because Ennahdha does not wish to point out that its economic platform is very much like the platforms proposed by other, non-religiously-based parties.

Original Language Text: 

En réponse à l’article paru dans Business News en date du 19/09/2011 sous le titre « Les similitudes entre les programmes d’Ennahdha et de Ben Ali », nous remercions l’auteur d’avoir passé le temps qu’il faut pour lire le programme et dégager les similitudes avec le programme de Ben Ali ainsi que les erreurs qu’il considère fatales. Nous attirons l’attention de l’auteur que ses calculs, trop simplistes, ne conduisent pas à ses conclusions puisqu’il partait de certaines hypothèses inexactes pour démontrer que les résultats d’Ennahdha sont erronés. En fait, aucune comparaison ne puisse se faire entre l’approche statique de la « règle de trois » de l’auteur avec un modèle dynamique multisectoriel d’équilibre général, le fruit de l’expérience d’une centaine d’experts en la matière.

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