After Kais Saied’s procedures, where will the Tunisian political scene go in 2022?

Tunisian experts expect that the Finance Law for the year 2022 will carry painful decisions that may increase the pace of popular tension and rise in social demand, in parallel with a record rise in unemployment rates, and a decline in growth and investment rates.

Tunisia- About two years ago, constitutional law professor Kais Saied came to power in Tunisia after democratic and transparent presidential elections, according to the testimony of local and international observers.

However, the exceptional decisions announced on 25 July last year raised questions about the future of democracy, and fears of a return to the tyranny against which Tunisians revolted in January 2011.

Zig July 25

On July 25, the Tunisian president announced the exemption of Prime Minister Hicham Al-Mashishi, the freezing of the powers of the House of Representatives, the lifting of immunity from its members, as well as the assumption of all powers, in a measure he said was “to save the state from the danger facing it.”

After the president’s speech, the army deployed in the vicinity of the sovereign institutions, including the Assembly of the People’s Representatives, and prevented its president, Rashid Ghannouchi and dozens of deputies from entering it, and its surroundings witnessed confrontations between the president’s supporters and those rejecting his measures.

Last September 29, Saied announced the assignment of Najla Boden to form a non-partisan, competent government, and she began her work without a vote of confidence in her government in the suspended parliament, amid controversy over its legitimacy and limited powers.

Saeed’s decisions left a sharp division between the political and popular circles. Some considered them a correction of the democratic path and stopping the state of chaos and chaos in Parliament, while others described it as a “full-fledged coup against the constitution that the president swore by the parliament, to close it afterwards by force of arms.”

Tunisian National Security Council meeting under the supervision of President Kais Saied (social networking sites)

Coup or a necessary step?

Political parties such as the Ennahda Movement and the Dignity Coalition denounced the president’s actions, and party and civil fronts were formed to confront what was described as the “coup”, such as the “Citizens Against the Coup” initiative, and the “Coordination of Democratic Forces”, which includes both the “Democratic Current” and “Aafaq Tounes”. The Republican Party and the Caucus.

Other parties, including the People’s Movement, the “Tunis Forward Movement” and the Popular Current, expressed their support for the president’s decisions, describing them as important “to break with the decade of ruin and corruption”, while the Tunisian Labor Union demanded setting a time limit for exiting the exceptional situation.

The Tunisian president appeared two days before the anniversary of the outbreak of the revolution on December 17, to announce the continuation of freezing the work of Parliament until legislative elections are held on December 17, 2022.

He also called for organizing an electronic youth consultation, and presenting all constitutional reforms to a popular referendum on July 25 next.

Street battles and empty stomachs

Opponents of the president’s measures chose to go to new forms of struggle after security restrictions imposed on them and prevented them from demonstrating and sit-in in the streets of the capital.

Activist and campaign member Zuhair Ismail, one of those who announced the open hunger strike in rejection of what he described as “the president’s coup against the constitution”, says that the political scene in Tunisia has become open to all scenarios in the coming months.

Ismail believes, in an interview with Al Jazeera Net, that the existence of a lively and rebellious democratic street in the face of tyranny undermines the populist narrative that the president is talking about in front of the inside and outside; That everyone supports his decision.

The activist stresses that what Saeed announced regarding a time limit and setting a date for organizing legislative elections does not concern them in anything, and that they will continue their opposition to him by all available peaceful means of struggle.

The activist in the “Citizens Against the Coup Campaign” expected that the economic and social crisis in Tunisia would bring down the president’s “authoritarian” ambitions in the coming months, in light of the labor union threatening union movements for social demands, as well as the formation of democratic forces for political fronts to confront his actions.

A previous protest pause for members of the Tunisian Judges Association (social networking sites)

stifling economic crisis

Professors of economics unanimously agree that the economic and financial crisis that Tunisia is experiencing is the worst in decades, in light of the state’s budget deficit and the scarcity of its resources in parallel with the disruption of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, and the impossibility of internal and external borrowing.

Tunisian experts also expected that the Finance Law for the year 2022 will carry painful decisions that may increase the pace of popular tension and raise social demands, in parallel with a record rise in unemployment rates, and a decline in growth and investment rates.

Part of a march in support of Qais Said in the center of the capital, Tunis, in October 2021. (Al-Jazeera)

Towards the Third Republic

On the other hand, supporters of President Qais Saeed demand a final break with the political and party system that ruled after the revolution, and hold it responsible for the political and economic failure that the country is experiencing. While many expect the president to move towards changing the regime and establish a grassroots construction project.

The head of the Alliance for Tunisia party, Sarhan Nasseri, says that his party is one of the most prominent supporters of the president’s measures, and that the latter has made up his mind to announce a road map and timetable that begins with calling for a referendum on constitutional reforms, and ends with organizing early legislative elections.

Al-Nasiri rules out the resumption of the work of the current parliament at the beginning of the new year, considering that the return will take place after organizing new legislative elections and a new electoral law.

He believes that the coming period will witness a step forward towards building what he described as the Third Republic, stressing that the July 25 procedures were finally cut off from the governing party system.

In his opinion, this will establish a presidential system with full powers, and another parliamentary system with an independent legislative authority whose sole task is to enact state laws and monitor its institutions, and not rule.

Many believe that the new year will be pregnant with hot events in Tunisia, and the entire political scene may change, as the president proceeds with his project and his own vision of governance and the state, refusing to dialogue with any party or civil party, in contrast to a raging street and the opposition whose circle is expanding day after day.

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