In Tunisia, 36 hours after his prime minister was ousted and parliament suspended, President Kaïs Saïed announced on Monday, July 26, the resignation of the defense minister. The presidential strategy receives strong support from the political class. Ennahdha, for its part, still condemns “a coup” and the international community is worried about a possible authoritarian operation.
as reported from Tunis, Lilia blaise
Following the scenes of light-heartedness on the streets of the country on Sunday night, many heavyweights in Tunisian politics have given their support to the President’s approach now on monday.
In the evening, the now former Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, with the support of the majority party in the Ennahdha parliament, declared: “I promise to ensure a peaceful transfer of power required by the customs of political life in Tunisia. “
The constitutional legitimacy of the measures in question
But today, after dismissing three ministers (Home Affairs, Justice and Defense), Kaïs Saïed has to face questions about the constitutional legitimacy of his decisions, even though he declared that he was not a putschist and that the dialogue continues after meeting the social partners and civil society on Tuesday. He must also appoint a successor to Hichem Mechichi and also ensure that the country does not flare up in the face of this change of power and the exceptional measures it must announce. Article 80 of the Constitution says nothing about the limitation of these measures, but it stipulates that the President should have consulted with Parliament’s Chief Rached Ghannouchi and the Government. The first, also the leader of the Islamist conservative Ennahdha party, denies being warned and still wanted to hold the meeting as usual until Tuesday evening.
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The country’s largest union, the Tunisian General Workers’ Union, supported these measures while calling on Kaïs Saïed for constitutional guarantees.
One of the majority coalition parties in parliament, which nevertheless opposed the incumbent president, Tahya Tounes, declared its support for the demands of the Tunisian people and once again demanded respect for democratic gains.
Finally, if the Ennahdha party disputes Kaïs Saïed’s actions and that clashes take place Between his supporters and the defenders of the head of state’s actions, the Islamist Party’s militants have been largely discreet since the president’s announcements, although they have won all legislative elections since 2011. How does this explain weak popular support? In 2011, Ennahdha won with 1.5 million votes, in 2014 with 1 million, in 2019 with 0.5 million votes. So over nine years, she lost two-thirds of her constituents. And there, since 2019, she has lost the rest. For what reasons? Because she has not carried out any project for Tunisia, nothing. It has neither solved unemployment problems nor revived economic growth. So there is a very strong aversion from the Tunisians towards Ennahdha “, analyzes the Tunisian sociologist Mohammed Kerrou.
The protests lasted until yesterday, Monday’s curfew in front of parliament, the president’s opponents and supporters speak
in Tunis clashes between supporters from both sides
The international community concerned
International reactions increased during the day. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called on Kaïs Saïed to “urge him to respect democracy”. The head of American diplomacy urged him to “hold an open dialogue with all political actors and the Tunisian people”. Antony Blinken also promised American support for the Tunisian economy and the fight against Covid-19, an important element in the protests that broke out in the country and led the head of state to interrupt the work of parliament.
Earlier, Washington had called on “all parties” involved in the political crisis in Tunisia to “avoid all measures that (…) could lead to violence”, so as not to “waste” the fragile progress of the very young democracy. , according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Foreign Ministry said it was “particularly concerned” about the media situation in Tunisia, following the closure without explanation or legal basis for the office of the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera in Tunis. Even before Monday, White House spokesman Jen Psaki demanded respect for “democratic principles” in the country. But she had not commented on a possible qualification for the “coup”.
In France, the Foreign Affairs Spokesman called on “all political forces to avoid all forms of violence and to preserve democratic gains”. France “wants respect for the rule of law and to return as soon as possible to the normal functioning of the institutions, which must be able to concentrate on responding to the health, economic and social crisis”.
The European Union called for “respect for the constitution, the institutions and the rule of law” and “for the avoidance of violence”. In Germany, the Foreign Ministry said it was “very concerned”. “It is now important to return to constitutional order as soon as possible.” The events “pose a major challenge for Tunisia” and show “the urgency of tackling political and economic reforms now”.
In Russia, the Kremlin spokesman hoped that “nothing will threaten the stability and security of its citizens”.
Finally, still in the same direction, the UN recommended all parties in Tunisia to exercise restraint, refrain from all violence and guarantee peace.