Tunisia's powerful UGTT union meets to choose new chief

2017-01-22 15:30


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Tunis - Tunisia's Nobel Peace Prize-winning UGTT labour union opened a key annual congress on Sunday to debate strategy and elect a new leader.

The powerful Tunisian General Labour Union played a key role in the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

It has also been at the heart of the country's post-revolution transition, seen as a rare success story after the Arab Spring revolutions.

The congress, attended by some 500 delegates, is set to elect a new leader to replace Houcine Abassi, who took office in 2011 just months after Ben Ali's fall.

With more than half a million members, the UGTT was among four civil society groups that played an important part in a 2013 national dialogue that helped salvage the country's democratic transition.

The groups were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015.

Two former UGTT officials are serving in the cabinet of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.

But the union has kept its activist outlook -- a public sector wage freeze in the autumn prompted it to threaten a general strike.

Abassi, 69, has urged his successor to "continue on the same path of militancy".

His deputies Bouali Mbarki and Noureddine Taboubi are favoured for the position.

Read more on:    tunisia  |  north

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