The ultraconservative Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir will soon become a recognized political entity in Tunisia, according to sources within the party.
Ridha Bel Haj, the spokesperson of the Hizb-ut-Tahrir movement in Tunisia, confirmed today that he was informed by the Prime Ministry that his organization would be awarded a license to operate as an officially recognized political party.
“We received a call from the Prime Ministry today confirming that our appeal for a license has been accepted,” stated Bel Haj, who explained in an interview with Tunisian radio station Mosaique FM that the call had come from Lotfi Zitoun, a political affairs adviser to Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali.
This decision was made after the party’s first appeal for a license, which would allow the movement to field candidates in the upcoming elections for the Constituent Assembly, was rejected. Hizb-ut-Tahrir, or the liberation party, is an ultraconservative, international, Islamist movement advocating for the establishment of a Caliphate – or a theocratic, Islamic state.
Last Friday, Bel Haj told Tunisia Live that his party’s second petition for a license, submitted on May 14, was once again struck down by the Prime Ministry. The ministry allegedly provided a list citing 15 characteristics of the party’s platform and political activities it deemed objectionable as the basis for its decision.
This claim was denied Friday evening by the Prime Ministry in a communiqué issued on its official Facebook page. However, in its statement the ministry implored the party to revise its platform to conform with Tunisian law.
Bel Haj explained today that the perceived rejection was a misunderstanding. “They explained to us that our party’s appeal wasn’t rejected, but that they remained in the process of conducting background investigations of our members,” Bel Haj said.
Bel Haj stated that he expects the Prime Ministry’s decision to be made public shortly, saying, “In the coming days our party’s name will be published in the government’s catalog, listing all legally recognized parties.”
The Prime Ministry was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.