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Tunisia – Ready to gain more power, but the economy is collapsing – Middle East Monitor

President Kais Saied is moving towards strengthening his grip on Tunisia through a referendum in July, which could become a poisonous cup as the economy sinks deep into crisis and opposition to his rule spreads. there is.

Almost a year after Sayed began to accumulate power, a referendum on July 25 took control of one critic who did not choose the democratic interests of the 2011 “Arab Spring” uprising in Tunisia. It is widely expected to increase his authority as a march.

For Sayed, the 2014 Constitutional Review is a remedy for the political dysfunction that plagued Tunisia after the fall of the dictatorship Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Elected in 2019, Saeed promises to protect his freedom and states that he is not a dictator, despite the dissolution of parliament and a statutory ruling.

But fearing the worst, his opponents boycott the vote and protest to increase the likelihood that the referendum will pass. They look forward to steps to strengthen the presidency and further weaken Congress and the judiciary.

Sayed has put a lot of effort into rebuilding Tunisia’s politics, but critics say the former law professor was unable to deal with the more pressing problem of the economy.

Anger over financial malaise and political turmoil has led many Tunisians to welcome his acquisition of power last year.

However, since then, one-fifth of the workforce has been unemployed, poverty has increased and difficulties have increased since before the Arab Spring.

Delays in public sector salaries and difficulty paying for wheat shipments indicate a state’s financial pressure.

Inflation reached a record high of 7.8%.

“The crisis is widespread, and if it continues, an explosion is imminent,” said Nejib Chebi, head of a major anti-said coalition. ReutersEncourage national dialogue to prevent “imminent collapse”.

read: Tunisia: Five parties launch campaign to abolish constitutional referendum

Sayed’s office did not respond to a message asking for comment on the story. He had previously stated that he was trying to save the economy, blaming corruption for decline and promising to recover the money he said was stolen by the elite – a statement dismissed as a populist rhetoric by opponents.

“The approaching catastrophe”

Despite pressure on Sayed, European foreign think tank Tarek Megerisi said he hoped the referendum would go on and the constitution passed, saying there was no minimum turnout. ..

“Then you will face an upcoming economic catastrophe. He has no support or governance to build a new political system, and when the economy collapses, you do not have a political system that can save it. Would be. “

In the next few weeks, there are few indications of the major political moments to come. There is no sign to promote the referendum. The proposed constitution should be published on Thursday, under the schedule set by Sayed.

20-year-old Omar Butara, who sells used clothing in poor areas of the capital, said he didn’t even know about the referendum. “Youth are lost here,” he said.

Mawen El Maweni, 28, unemployed, said he couldn’t afford to eat and wanted to move to Europe. “Poverty sticks to us,” he said.

read: Tunisia is at a crossroads, says former interim president

The economy has been hit several times. The pandemic hit important tourism before the Ukrainian war pushed up fuel and food prices and exacerbated financial pressure.

Last year the unemployment rate was about 18%.

The government hopes to secure a $ 4 billion loan in negotiations with the IMF, which is expected to begin in the coming weeks, in return for reforms, including a wage freeze. Without reforms, Tunisia may not be able to repay its debt, the Finance Minister says.

However, the bailout plan rejected reforms, paralyzed Tunisia on a June 16 strike, and hit opposition from the powerful UGTT coalition, which vowed to take further action. UGTT is still against the referendum.

“No democracy”

The Sayed movement raised concerns in the West, and Tunisia was seen as the only success of the Arab Spring, which ended in conflict elsewhere and renewed repression.

To his opponents, including the Islamic Ennahda Party, the referendum appears to be set to give another blow. They have been blaming Saeed’s actions as a coup on his hind legs since last year, but have been struggling to counter him.

In addition to speculation, the new constitution will cut the wings of parliament and justice, Saeed says it defines “work” rather than “power,” suggesting that both positions are declining. ing.

He also signaled a language change about Islam with a phrase that Muslims have long claimed to define Islam as state religion, and Islam is a reference to the Islamic world of “umma”. It was replaced by what is called a religion.

Banned under Ben Ali, Enafuda has moved to the center of power since 2011. But now there are early signs of crackdown. Sayed’s enemies have long been afraid, but in a big way they haven’t happened.

Former Prime Minister Jebali Jebali, a former member of Enafuda, was detained for four days in June after his lawyer stated that he was accusated of money laundering, and Jebali’s move was politically motivated. was.

The Home Office refused to comment on his arrest.

Judges also accused Political Saeed of dismissing dozens of judges accused of corruption and protecting suspected terrorists.

Another former Prime Minister of Enafuda, Ali Lariyard, said Tunisia was at stake last year, but “no democracy”, poverty is getting worse, and “we are now in a disaster. “.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20220629-tunisia-saied-poised-for-more-power-but-economy-crumbles/ Tunisia – Ready to gain more power, but the economy is collapsing – Middle East Monitor

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