History and profile
Established in May 2011 as Union patriotique libérale
and renamed to Union patriotique libre
in June 2011, the party was founded and has been led by the British-Tunisian petroleum entrepreneur Slim Riahi
who had been raised in his family's Libyan
exile and had returned from London
right after the Tunisian revolution
in January 2011.
The UPL has mainly been noted for its expensive and lavish electoral campaign. It has offered bus trips to party rallies to potential voters. As opposed to most other parties that rely on the voluntary commitment of their members, the Free Patriotic Union can afford to pay its candidates and campaigners. This has earned the party the accusation of "buying" candidates and supporters.
Party leader's Riahi decision to buy 20% of the Dar Assabah media group raised suspicions of mixing business interests with political activity.
At the same time, the party came into conflict with Tunisia's Independent High Authority for Elections
(ISIE) because it continued its advertising campaign from 12 to 30 September, ignoring ISIE's ban of canvassing during this period.
In the parliamentary election in October 2011
, the party received only 1.26% of the votes. However, in the Siliana district
, the party managed to receive 6.3% of the votes and Noureddine Mrabti won the party's only seat for the Constituent Assembly
. Together with twelve defectors from the Aridha Chaabia
list, Mrabti founded the Liberty and democracy
parliamentary group, which was later reorganized into the Democratic transition
parliamentary group. However, only Hanène Sassi remained a permanent member of the party.
On 7 March 2013, it was announced that to create a new "centrist party of socialist-liberal orientation", seven minor parties decided to join forces with the UPL: the Third Alternative Party, the Modern Left Party, the Citizenship Movement, the Tunisian Liberal Party, the Social-Democratic Alternative, the Citizenship and Justice Party, and the Path of Will Party.
In April 2016, UPL president Slim Riahi accused former UPL secretary general and current Minister of Youth and Sport Mehdi Ben Dhia of being to lax towards the Tunisian Football Federation
, after the Riahi's Club Africain
lost to Etoile Sportive du Sahel
. Ben Dhia left the UPL after Riahi unsuccessfully called on Prime Minister Essid to replace him as minister. Later in May, the UPL lost three more deputies to Nidaa Tounes
. The party subsequently announced it would "suspend its activities" in the coalition government
Following a party meeting on 22 May in Sousse
, Hatem El Euchi was appointed the party's new secretary general. Jamel Tlili who, obviously in absence, was appointed the new deputy secretary general, resigned within 24 hours from the party, claiming he had not even been made aware of his appointment or nomination. Two days later, executive director Samir Maghraoui also resigned from the UPL criticizing Riahi for "considering the party a one-man project".
In June, resigned UPL member Tlili accused Riahi and the UPL ministers Deriouche and El Euchi of "systemic corruption".
Because of the corruption allegations, MP Taher Foudhil announced his resignation from the UPL later in August.
- ^ Julius Dihstelhoff (25 October 2018). "Tunisian Politics Between Crisis and Normalization". Carnegie Endowment. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
- ^ a b "UPL-Nidaa Tounes : Le divorce acté !". Business News. 19 March 2019. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
- ^ a b Bollier, Sam (9 October 2011), "Who are Tunisia's political parties?", Al Jazeera English, retrieved 22 October 2011
- ^ Chrisafis, Angelique (19 October 2011), "Tunisia's political parties" (PDF), The Guardian, retrieved 24 October 2011
- ^ Gamha, Eymen (3 October 2011), "Free Patriotic Union", Tunisia-live, archived from the original on 9 March 2012, retrieved 23 October 2011
- ^ Afef Abrougui (19 April 2014). "Tunisian media in flux since revolution". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
- ^ a b Yasmine Ryan (21 October 2011), "Tunisian newcomer spends big on campaign", Al Jazeera English, retrieved 23 October 2011
- ^ Eileen Byrne (27 September 2011), "Tunisia party runs into controversy", Financial Times, retrieved 23 October 2011
- ^ In French: le parti Troisième alternative, le parti de la Gauche moderne, le Mouvement citoyenneté, le Parti tunisien des libéraux, l'Alternative social-démocrate, le parti Citoyenneté et Justice et le parti Voie de la volonté. Tunisie : Une nouvelle fusion pour créer un grand parti d'orientation libérale
- ^ "UPL Suspends Activities in Tunisia's Coalition Government in Latest Secular Party Squabble". Tunisia-tn.com. 16 May 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
- ^ "Resignations From Slim Riahi's UPL Party Continue Unabated". Tunisia-tn.com. 26 May 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
- ^ "UPL: Two Cabinet Ministers and Slim Riahi Accused of Systemic Corruption". Tunisia-tn.com. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
- ^ "Taher Foudhil quits UPL". Agence Tunis Afrique Presse. 26 August 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
Last edited on 29 January 2021, at 23:55
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