Crisis in Tunisia: Political parties argue that Saied’s actions are unconstitutional and illegal


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Four Tunisian political parties issued a joint statement describing President Kais Saied’s actions as illegal and accusing him of trying to create a dictatorship.

“We consider that the president has lost his legitimacy by violating the constitution,” the statement read, “and he will be responsible for all possible repercussions of this dangerous measure.”

The statement was released by four of the country’s political parties – Attayar, Al-Jouhmouri, Akef and Ettakatol – after Saied announced on Wednesday that he would rule by decree and ignore the country’s 2014 constitution. This constitution was approved by an overwhelming majority by the country’s parliament three years after the overthrow of longtime dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

While Tunisia was seen as the only unambiguous success story of the Arab Spring of 2011, lingering political and economic problems have remained beneath the surface, including high unemployment, social stratification and income inequality, and failure of the government. the country’s parliament to adopt significant changes. . Frustration over these shortcomings led Saied to unilaterally suspend Tunisia’s parliament and assume full executive power over the country on July 25, triggering the current crisis.

Saied’s actions have also been harshly criticized by Ennahda, Tunisia’s largest political party, which has pursued a moderate form of Islamism. Party leader Rached Ghannouchi was speaker of parliament before its dissolution and has become one of Saied’s most prominent opponents.

In comments to AFP, Ghannouchi described Saied’s actions as “a step backwards towards absolute one-man rule”, comparing Saied’s tenure to that of Ben Ali. Ghannouchi had stressed that there was “no more alternative to the struggle” and called on the Tunisians to “participate in peaceful actions to resist the dictatorship and bring Tunisia back to the path of democracy”.

Saied’s actions were also condemned by the powerful Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), which has more than one million members. The UGTT was one of the four organizations of the “National Dialogue Quartet”, which received the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize.

While Saied’s actions sparked enormous controversy among the country’s ruling class and its Western partners, they have remained very popular in public. According to some polls, more than eighty percent of Tunisians see his actions as necessary to reform Tunisia’s frozen political system.

Saied, a former constitutional law professor and lawyer, was elected president of the country in 2019, with 72% of the vote in the second round.

Trevor Filseth is a current affairs and foreign affairs writer for the National interest.

Image: Reuters.

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