Supporters of the Nidaa Tounes party hold pictures of Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi and shout slogans, in Tunis, November 3, 2015. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
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After weeks of sharp disputes between its leaders, Tunisia's ruling party is on the verge of breaking up, which could allow Islamist rivals to usurp it as the biggest bloc in parliament.A split within Nidaa Tounes could trigger political instability in the country that launched the first of the Arab Spring revolutions in 2011 .Local elections next year are also influencing party agendas.After the uprising that ousted autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, long-suppressed Islamists emerged as a political force and Ennahda won elections held later in 2011 .Nidaa Tounes emerged as a political force in 2013 to lead popular protests against the Ennahda government, forcing the Islamists to step down and make way for a non-partisan transitional government and new elections.Cracks began to emerge over the party's structure, direction and appointments after Essebsi senior was elected president and stepped down as its leader.
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