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Political Parties Call for Roadmap in Tunisia but Differ over Goals

Political Parties Call for Roadmap in Tunisia but Differ over Goals

Wednesday, 28 July, 2021 - 08:45
Tunisian President Kais Saied meets a group of union leaders and civil society members (Tunisian presidency)

Tunisian President Kais Saied and Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi have phoned senior world officials, including US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, to reaffirm their support for the multilateral and democratic track in their country.

In their calls, Saied and Jerandi stressed that recent decisions the administration had taken were “circumstantial” and aimed at “correction and reform,” not overturning the Tunisian constitution or enforcing martial law.

The president had suspended parliament, dismissed the government, and said he plans to put some lawmakers on trial for corruption.

He also said he would choose a new prime minister. He lifted the parliamentary immunity of legislators and later fired the defense and justice ministers.

While many political parties in the North African state have collectively stepped up their demands for a clear roadmap following the president’s move, they differed on the reasoning, objectives, and timeline the plan should take.

As for Saied, he held marathon meetings with representatives of bar associations, judges, journalists, worker unions, farmers to reassure them that his move does not mean he is straying the country away from democracy.

He explained the reasons behind removing the government of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi with the help of the army and freezing parliament.

After meeting with the president in the presence of national figures, Ibrahim Bouderbala, the head of Tunisia’s Bar Association, praised “Saied’s will to support national political dialogue with all political parties without exclusion, including the leaders of Ennahda Party and other opposition parties.”

Bouderbala stated that the only political figures to be excluded from the dialogue are corruption suspects that include several politicians and current and former lawmakers facing charges of smuggling, tax evasion, taking bribes, and receiving illicit financial support.

Meanwhile, a handful of senior constitutional law experts in Tunisia, including human rights defender Salwa Hamrouni and the academic Saghir Zakraoui, praised the decisions announced by Saied on Sunday evening.

Despite the support the president’s move received from the experts, some political leaders in Tunisia and abroad described his decisions as a “coup against the constitution and the results of parliamentary elections.”

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