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Tunisians fret at president’s silence on future

TUNIS: 5 weeks after their president seized governing powers and every week after he indefinitely extended emergency measures, Tunisians are more and more puzzled at his silence on the largest disaster of their democratic period.

Although President Kais Saied has spoken often on points starting from potato costs to corruption in movies of conferences that his workplace posts on-line, he has but to call a brand new prime minister or say how he plans to rule.

“Now we have nice confidence within the president,” stated Samira Salmi, a garments vendor in Tunis, earlier than including: “However frankly his programme has been delayed so much … We wish fast solutions.”

Saied’s subsequent steps will decide whether or not his intervention, known as a coup by critics however extensively supported by a populace weary of paralysis and financial decline, will in the end be considered a democratic reset or a gateway again to autocracy.

Each peculiar Tunisians and the political class extensively anticipate him to alter the structure to present the presidency extra powers after he suspended parliament.

The prevailing structure, agreed in 2014 as a messy compromise at a tense second of polarisation after the 2011 revolution that launched democracy, has lengthy been unpopular. Most candidates within the 2019 election, together with Saied, stated they wished to amend it.

Nevertheless, Saied has given no public assertion about what any new structure would seem like, whether or not he’ll dissolve the now suspended parliament or how lengthy he expects the emergency interval to final.

He has dismissed requires a “roadmap” from the highly effective UGTT labour union and main overseas lenders by suggesting they give the impression of being in geography books, and final week he stated the federal government “might be appointed quickly, however the state continues”.

The UGTT has one million members and the ability to close down the financial system by stirkes.


Whereas political events, peculiar Tunisians, the union and Western allies have voiced concern at his delay at asserting a programme, few seem able to put Saied beneath public strain but.

Each the federal government he ousted and the suspended parliament had been very unpopular, whereas his vocal assaults on corruption and excessive costs have widespread assist, making it tougher for his critics to oppose him.

“The president is going through strain and has began a marketing campaign to scrub up the administration and safety equipment… he’s within the regular individuals like us and is aware of that we belief him,” stated Ahmed Abid, a financial institution worker.

Essentially the most vocal critic has been the reasonable Islamist Ennahda get together, the largest in parliament and a supporter of successive coalition governments because the revolution.

Its instant response to his intervention was to name it a coup, but it surely has since dialled again its rhetoric, referring to his strikes as a substitute as a “constitutional violation”. The disaster has in the meantime accelerated disputes inside the get together.

“There’s a worry of the unknown…the president has all the ability and he has not but introduced his plans,” stated Maher Madhioub, an adviser to Ennahda’s chief.

Nevertheless, endurance could also be working out. “The get together expresses its rising concern concerning the gathering of powers within the arms of the president with no clear timeframe,” stated Ghazi Chaouachi, head of Attayar get together.


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