The Tunisian president accuses his opponents of plotting against the country, and Macron calls on him to lead an “inclusive” transition
Tunisian President Kais Saied accused unnamed parties of conspiring against her country and spreading lies. In return, his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron called on him to lead a comprehensive transition process for all parties.
Said said – during a phone call with Macron – “Those who present themselves as victims of tyranny are the ones who want to return to it, and even conspire against their homeland in cooperation with those who have no goal but money and strike the homelands and countries from within.”
The Tunisian president stressed that the roadmap he announced aims to preserve freedom, achieve justice, and confront all those who looted the Tunisian people’s money and resources.
Said added, “No one can designate himself as a legislator, under custom-made laws, to blow up state institutions from within, as he put it.”
For his part, the French President called on his Tunisian counterpart to lead a transition process that is inclusive of all parties as much as possible, according to what was announced by the French presidency.
According to the Elysee, Macron urged the Tunisian president to draw up a program of reforms that seem necessary to deal with the economic crisis, stressing France’s constant readiness to support Tunisia and accompany it in implementing these reforms.
The Elysee added that the Tunisian president expressed his commitment to respecting the rule of law and democratic freedoms in his country.
Since July 25, 2021, Saied has monopolized the authorities by suspending the work of Parliament, and Sa`id exercises rule by issuing decrees despite protests by opponents and the condemnation of local and international non-governmental organizations.
On December 13, Saeed revealed a roadmap aimed at overcoming the political crisis, the most prominent of which is the holding of legislative elections in December 2022 after reviewing the electoral law and organizing a referendum in July 2022 to amend the constitution, which Saeed seeks to give it a “presidential” character. at the expense of Parliament.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, expressed his concern over the development of the situation in Tunisia with the exacerbation of tension in the country, after new measures taken by President Kais Saied, which his opponents promised a blow to media freedom and the independence of the judiciary.
While the former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki expressed his solidarity with the former Dean of Lawyers Abdel Razzaq Al-Kilani after his referral to the military judiciary, the Ennahda movement said that the security forces had kidnapped one of its leaders and transferred him to an unknown destination.
In a press conference held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Guterres said that “the Tunisian democratic revolution was something that inspired hope around the world, and we certainly want to preserve it with all democratic values.”
“We hope that will happen, we see the concerns, and I hope that these fears are removed by the full restoration of an institutional democratic framework that works for all Tunisians,” he added.
In scenes not seen in the capital for 10 years, the police used water cannons, tear gas and batons to disperse the demonstrators, and arrested dozens in a demonstration last Friday (a week ago) to celebrate the anniversary of the 2011 revolution and to denounce Said’s decisions.
Last Saturday, more than 20 Tunisian NGOs denounced the “police repression and barbaric attack” against journalists and demonstrators during the protests.
In response to these criticisms, Saied said that “liberties are guaranteed in Tunisia more than ever before,” stressing that “the law is applied to everyone.”
Solidarity with Al-Kilani
Politically, the Tunisian “Citizens Against the Coup” campaign expressed, on Saturday, its “absolute and unconditional” solidarity with the former dean of lawyers, Abdel Razzaq Al-Kilani, after he was referred to the military court.
The campaign against President Saeed’s actions described Al-Kilani’s referral to the military judiciary as an advanced step towards establishing a state of repression and individual rule, and a systematic policy to finish off the last squares of rights and freedoms, as she put it.
The campaign – in a statement – denounced what it described as the continuation of the coup authority in forcing the military establishment and its judiciary to target the democratic forces and personalities who reject the coup.
The statement also warned of what it described as a dangerous zigzag towards completing all the elements of a closed, authoritarian security state. He called on human rights organizations to confront the coup plot and intimidate lawyers and judges.
And yesterday, Friday, human rights sources in Tunisia reported that the authorities had referred Al-Kilani to the military investigation after receiving an invitation to do so the day before yesterday, Thursday, without an official comment.
Al-Kilani is a member of the defense committee for the deputy head of the Ennahda movement, who is under house arrest, Noureddine Al-Buhairi (63 years).
Since last July 25, Tunisia has witnessed a political crisis, when Saied began to take exceptional measures, including freezing the competencies of Parliament, lifting the immunity of his deputies, abolishing the constitutionality monitoring body, issuing legislation by presidential decrees, chairing the Public Prosecution, dismissing the Prime Minister, and assuming the executive authority with the assistance of A government appointed Najla Boden as its head.
The majority of political forces in Tunisia reject Said’s exceptional measures, and consider them a coup against the constitution, while other forces support them and see them as a correction to the course of the 2011 revolution, in light of the political, economic and health crises (the Corona pandemic).
Judicial Council crisis
In the latest developments in the crisis of the Supreme Judicial Council, the Council renewed its rejection of smear campaigns against its members, stressing that it will continue to perform its duties in defense of the independence of the judiciary.
The council’s statement came two days after President Saeed issued a decree to end the grants and privileges granted to the 45 council members.
A day later, Saeed said that the judiciary is free, and that he is working to remain so, but he stressed that the judiciary is not the state or the government, and it must implement the law, adding that what he called impunity must end.
In a statement, the Supreme Judicial Council warned of the danger of compromising the constitutional structure of the judiciary, calling on judges to uphold their independence, and condemned the interference in its work and refused to continue in violation of its powers.
On the other hand, the head of the Supreme Judicial Council, Youssef Bouzakher, said that the council believes that the decree to stop grants issued by Saied prejudices the judicial authority and the powers of the Supreme Judicial Council, stressing – in an interview with Al Jazeera the day before yesterday Thursday – that this decree will not deter judges from carrying out their duties.
“Kidnapping” a leader from the Ennahda
Meanwhile, the leader of the Ennahda movement, Muhammad al-Qumani, said that the security forces had “kidnapped” Ahmed al-Jalali, the local general secretary of the movement in the city of Regueb (Central West), and transferred him to an unknown destination.
Al-Qumani explained that the security forces raided Al-Jalali’s house, without invoking a name or an invitation, and that “some items from his house were seized.”
And before Jalali, Ennahda announced the kidnapping of the leader, Noureddine Al-Buhairi, on December 31, by security men in civilian clothes, and taking him to an unknown destination.
In the same context, the frozen Parliament Speaker Rashid Ghannouchi said – during the funeral of the body of protester Reda Bouziane, who died after being injured in the demonstrations last Friday – that his killing is a state crime, adding that the accused is the Minister of Interior and President Qais Saeed, until proven otherwise, As he put it.
The Ennahda Movement and Citizens Against the Coup say that Bouziane died as a result of the security forces’ assault on him during the celebration of the anniversary of the revolution.