Middle East

Tunisia “swallows uncertainty” as Saeed moves forward

Opponents have been silent and the economy is at stake. Experts say Tunisia “swallows uncertainty” as President Kais Saied is preparing to ask the public for ideas about the new constitution.
A former law professor who dismissed the government on July 25, suspended parliament, and seized widespread power, has long called for a review of the country’s post-revolutionary political system.
On December 13, he created a roadmap for drafting a new constitution. This constitution is set to give more power to the government at the expense of the parliament of a small country in North Africa.
Citizens were asked to send proposals via an electronic platform from January 1st to March 20th prior to the referendum on the establishment of the Constitution on July 25, 2022.
Critics say the move highlights the president’s “populist” approach, where 73% of votes voted for a landslide and won the election in 2019.
However, the Crusaders of Sayed to rebuild Tunisia’s broken political structure have blamed him for establishing a new dictatorship at the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprising.
Rights groups have pointed out military trials by opposition parties on charges of “insulting the president.”
The accusations come not only from his enemy, the Enafuda Party, which ruled the suspended parliament, but also from the powerful UGTT trade union.
“It seems that we couldn’t reassure our partners both domestically and internationally after Saeed announced the roadmap,” said analyst Hamza Medeb.
“There are many question marks about the reliability of this process,” says Meddeb.
“We have never tried this kind of referendum in Tunisia and we do not know how the President aims to organize these talks.”
Mr Medeb said the talks began “in socio-economic unrest with questions about freedom” and what he described as “disguised oppression.”
Saeed’s July power gain came with Tunisia involved in a political and economic crisis exacerbated by an increase in coronavirus cases.
His move was initially backed by some Tunisians who were fed up with the political elite who were considered corrupt and unable to solve the country’s problems.
On Tuesday, the debtor country announced its 2022 budget as it seeks to stimulate the economy, which has been hit by an unemployment rate of 18%.
Authorities also hope to reach a bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund. But as the administration tackled serious economic hardships, it also restricted its rights.
On December 24, activist and former MP Bochra Belhaj Hmida was sentenced to six months in prison. The ruling cast doubt a few days after criticizing the president.
“Since July 25, there is one agency and person who will determine the future of the country,” she told AFP. “There is nothing to suggest that there is hope.”
Himida wasn’t the only one charged after publicly criticizing the president.
Perhaps most prominent is former exile president Moncef Marzouki, who was sentenced to four years in absentia on December 22 for “damaging national security from abroad” after launching fierce public criticism of Saeed. is.
“All these hasty trials against critical voices clearly show that the judiciary is unfortunately in the hands of the executive branch,” Medeb said.
Rights groups have repeatedly warned of the threat to freedom of speech in Tunisia since July 25.
Human Rights Watch said in December that Tunisian authorities were using “repressive” legislation to dispel criticisms of Saeed.
The union of journalists has also warned of “the imminent danger to press, media and freedom of expression” since taking control of Saeed.
On December 23, a group of prominent anti-said figures under the banner “Citizens Against Coups” launched a hunger strike against what they called “the complete abolition of freedom.” The group accused Saeed of “trying to hide the coup” and called for a boycott of public consultation promoted by Sayed.
“Tunisia is on a slippery slope and high tensions are expected,” Medeb said.

http://www.gulf-times.com/story/707230/Tunisia-wallows-in-uncertainty-as-Saied-pushes-ahe Tunisia “swallows uncertainty” as Saeed moves forward

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