the president puts the army in the front line

Tunisia is still awaiting the appointment of a new prime minister when President Kaïs Saïed fired Hichem Mechichi on Sunday. This Wednesday, July 28, 2021, the President made several announcements, including the creation of a crisis unit coordinated by the military to fight Covid-19.

With our special correspondent in Tunis, Charlotte cosset

President Kaïs Saïed gives this new unit different powers, in particular the monitoring of the application of health measures, stocks and the implementation of the vaccine strategy. The crisis unit will also need to submit proposals and report weekly to the head of state. A decision made in a complicated health context. Tunisia has one of the highest death tolls linked to the Covid-19 pandemic on the African continent.

This is not the first time the army has been called up in the civilian field. The authorities have already urged her to carry out infrastructure projects or bring basic necessities to remote regions of the country.

The President of the Republic had met yesterday a little earlier in the day for the commander of the armed forces and the high security officers during the meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. A meeting aimed at monitoring the country’s public affairs. According to the constitution, Kaïs Saïed is the commander of the armed forces. The latter fired the defense minister on Monday, without touching the military hierarchy. The president said in April last year in connection with the 65th anniversary of the internal security forces that the army must be “at the service of the people and lead by example in law enforcement.”

A fairly popular army

The Tunisian army has always been aloof from political issues, which has given it some sympathy and trust among the population, according to observers from Tunisian society. The armed forces have been called upon on several occasions in recent years to build infrastructure or provide support to the regions. They are also at the forefront of the fight against terrorism.

After the uprising in 2011, she guarded the institutions for several months. Under Ben Ali, she played the role of “defender” of the population against police violence. Sunday in front of the gates of the closed parliament, Rached Ghanouchi asked to enter Parliament“I am the President of Parliament and we are elected as deputies,” he explained. “We swore to protect the country,” the soldier replied on guard.


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