Will politics benefit from sports in Tunisia before the September 15 presidential elections? This seems certain in light of the increasing number of athletes who "abandoned" the fields of the witch round, even temporarily, and appeared in the front lines of the rallies of presidential candidates.
Before the official campaign began on September 2, and the race towards the Carthage Palace (presidential palace) intensified, the re-emergence of sports stars in the political scene re-argued over the motives of some candidates to rely on athletes, whether players, directors or referees to support them in the race. .
Presidential candidate Abdelkarim Zubaidi chose to appoint former African club official Hamid Mubarak as director of his office during the campaign, while former Tunisian football star Ziad Jaziri, members of the football association Hamid Maghrib and Amin Mogou, and former president of the club appeared in the campaign. Benzarti Mehdi Ben Gharbia.
Mehdi Gomaa has relied on some athletes, such as former Olympic Transport Club president Nasser Chouikh and football referee Walid Hadhli. Other sports officials have also emerged, such as coastal star Reda Charafeddine, a leader of the "Heart of Tunisia" party and one of the most prominent actors in the campaign. Karoui, currently detained in various financial issues.
In addition to his candidacy for the upcoming parliamentary elections (October 6, 2019) for the Project Tunis Party, Hachicha appeared on the list of early supporters of candidate Mohsen Marzouk.
A national affair
According to Hamid Mubarak, who became the treasurer of the African club in 2018, the policy is a national affair and concerns all segments of society, and even entices many to storm it to implement programs and plans including the economy, trade and sports.
He added to Al Jazeera Net "My presence within the campaign of Dr. Zubaidi is not under the exploitation of my fame among the African masses to support the fortunes of our candidate, but is the implementation of strategies and long-term visions in the areas of sports and infrastructure, economy, banking, education and others."
He ruled out combining sports and politics at the same time, because the laws prevent the inclusion of sports associations in the political field, he said.
On the other hand, the ruling Walid Hadhli, one of the coordinators of the Mahdi Juma campaign for the presidential elections, did not deny the search for political parties to position themselves better in the electoral arena by relying on a number of athletes in the election battle.
Speaking to Al Jazeera Net, Al-Hadhli, who continues his training in preparation for the management of local football league games, considered that the entry of athletes to the stadium of politics is an old phenomenon in Tunisia, which spread after the revolution as a result of political pluralism and the boom of parties founded on the ruins of the revolution.
"Politics will not distract me from sports, but as a national interest, I seek to enter the campaign of the candidate of the alternative Mahdi Juma party to crystallize the ideas I hold in the sports sector from the gateway to political life," he said.
Duplication of tasks
A number of activists on the Internet raised the issue of duplication of tasks and the inclusion of sports in political parties, after the emergence of senior sports officials along with some presidential candidates and the circulation of pictures of the President of the Judo Union along with Mohsen Marzouk.
Etoile Sahel fans also cracked down on their club president Reza Sharafeddine, saying the team's recent decline was a result of his preoccupation with the election campaign of Nabil Karoui, while others described the entry of former Tunisian top scorer Ziad Jaziri to "Long live Tunisia" as an offensive to a remarkable football career.
In the opinion of the media and sports expert Nabil Khairat that criticism of a number of athletes after lining up behind the presidential candidates Tunisian justified, considering that politics often entered the hearts of voters from the gate of football stadiums in the world, he said.
Khairat adds to Al Jazeera Net "It is clear that the presidential election candidates are well aware of the influence of sports celebrities in the voters, and therefore playing sports card does not seem arbitrary, but a goal to expand the electoral base and ensure the largest number of votes."
"The phenomenon spread in Tunisia after the revolution, especially since some athletes have made personal gains by declaring their loyalty to influential party officials or formally under the banner of those parties," he said.