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Tunisia’s Government Temporarily Relieved From Opposition, Unions Pressure

Tunisia’s Government Temporarily Relieved From Opposition, Unions Pressure

Wednesday, 18 March, 2020 - 10:45

The coronavirus has temporarily diverted attention from Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh’s government and relieved it from pressure after the announcement of the first infection case in the country.

Criticism by opposition parties against the ruling coalition, especially the Free Constitutional Party led by Abir Moussa, has recently declined.

Instead, the parties have resorted to calls for national unity, especially after Secretary-General of Tunisia's General Labor Union (UGTT) Noureddine Taboubi announced postponing all labor strikes and protests, as well as conferences and meetings.

His decision came amid difficult circumstances, “which require national solidarity and unity,” he stressed.

Concerns over the pandemic also compelled citizens to shift to medical services instead of social demands.

A number of politicians have agreed with Taboubi and overcame their differences.

Observers believe that Fakhfakh’s government would emerge more united if it succeeded in limiting the social and economic impact of the virus. But it could later face severe social protests after the pandemic ends.

The Heart of Tunisia party, which leads the opposition in the parliament, had called on Fakhfakh’s government to implement the announced measures to combat the coronavirus “with precision and seriousness” to overcome the country’s health crisis.

It urged its supporters to help the state and contribute to spreading awareness among Tunisians.

Political analyst Sarhan Chikhaoui said political differences “have disappeared, and the medical and technical discourse has replaced the tense political rhetoric.”

Parties have been mainly discussing means of fighting the Covid-19 disease with the least damage, he added.

Chikhaoui pointed out that official measures taken by Fakhfakh and Health Minister Abdellatif Mekki in confronting the disease have resulted in social and political support for the government.

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