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Kais Saied and Tunisia's youth: New approach adopted by a president with limited powers

Tunisia’s independent candidate Kais Saied in Tunis, Tunisia on 13 October 2019 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]
Tunisia’s independent candidate Kais Saied in Tunis, Tunisia on 13 October 2019 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Recent meetings between the new Tunisian president, Kais Saied, and young people from unemployment and poverty-stricken regions, reflect a new communication approach for the president.

In the past two weeks, Saied held meetings with youth groups from the governorates of Kasserine (center-west) and Gafsa (southwest), during which he discussed a range of issues, including unemployment, employment and development, in what experts described as “an unprecedented event”.

New communication approach

“This is a new form of dealing with angry and marginalised youth in the interior regions,” said Mohammed Jouili, a sociology professor at the University of Tunisia to Anadolu Agency.

He added that “the meetings of Saied with several young people is a new approach of communication and the way to deal with youth-related problems, especially unemployment and job seeking,” pointing out that “this is an unprecedented approach.”

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Jouilli deduced some messages from the meetings, the most important of which is that “the new Tunisian president is good at listening to people and youth, and he opens his palace to receive them. This is a positive step, provided that it is limited and non-repetitive because the president cannot receive all young people from all regions of the country inside the palace.”

“We aspire that these meetings will be followed by serious thinking in finding solutions to the problems of these young people and other categories, especially the problem of unemployment and development so that young people will not have to go again to Carthage Palace,” added Jouili.

Limited powers

Jouili went on that “the prevailing mentality still considers that the President of the Republic has the absolute powers in these matters and is the only person to solve all problems, yet this thinking is wrong.”

Jouili said that “the limited powers of the president do not authorise him to solve the problems of these young people, but these are part of the government’s powers and are solved collectively between all parties in power.”

He pointed out that “the young people’s communication with Saied reflects their respect towards him and this president’s willingness to listen to the tragedy they are experiencing”, calling on “the Tunisian government to carry out its duties towards these young people in these areas.”

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