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Tunisia’s Public Prosecution pursues suspects in calls to topple parliament

May 7, 2020 at 11:17 pm

General view of Tunisia’s government in parliament in Tunis, Tunisia [Anadolu]

Deputy of State Prosecution and Head of the Media and Communication Unit of the First Instance Court in Tunis Mohsen Dali announced that Tunisia’s Public Prosecution has pledged to investigate a number of calls made against state institutions aiming to disrupt the government.

Several parliament members called for an urgent investigation into online accounts inciting violence and chaos against the state’s sovereign centres.

Dali added in a statement to Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) news agency on Tuesday that the Public Prosecution has entrusted specialised security teams to investigate the calls launched on social media.

Anonymous petition

The calls have surprised Tunisian public opinion at a time when the country is facing the coronavirus pandemic. They have called for what they considered “correcting the political track in Tunisia”, by forming a national salvation commission and preparing for the “hungry revolution”.

The owners of this petition proposed the dissolution of parliament and the establishment of autonomous governance, which is not based on representative democracy, but rather on the application of direct democracy.

READ: Tunisia’s Ennahda calls on government to review state budget

What is surprising in this proposal is that it was mentioned in the electoral program of President Kais Saied, which made many people question the link between those calling for this proposal and Saied’s supporters.

However, attempts to play the state’s institutions against one another and exaggerate the differences between the heads of power in the country may be behind what is happening – especially since some internal and external political and media parties are relying on these differences to strike the Tunisian political achievement, and plunge the country into further chaos.

No criminalisation

The spokesman for the People’s Movement, Mohsen Nabti, announced in a statement to Achahed that: “It is not possible to criminalise calls to dissolve the parliament, and this cannot be considered a magic solution that would change the situation.”

Nabti added that the parliament has given itself a bad reputation from the beginning, calling for creating popular control mechanisms and mechanisms for the possibility of withdrawing trust from the MPs.

The People’s Movement is still a member of the Popular Front, which began dissolving before the last elections.

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Nabti called for the need to move to the third republic with the political will and awareness from all parties, before popular movements that may lead us to this stage, indicating that the second republic has achieved many gains, but it lacks economic and social achievement.

He also called for the necessity to conduct a national debate on the political regime, pointing out that the People’s Movement’s position is to change the regime to a purely presidential or parliamentary regime. He explained that the People’s Movement is among the supporters of unifying the authority and not dissolving it between different powers, in a way that allows avoidance of responsibility of the various political positions.

Nabti called for the need to change the electoral law to guarantee social groups’ ascension to power, stressing that the current electoral law is unethical and has opened the doors to corrupt money and the exclusion of low socioeconomic groups.

Targeting of Ennahda Movement

Ennahda Movement’s deputy at the Assembly of the Representatives of the People of Tunisia, Mohamed Goumani, told Mugtama that: “The calls to dissolve the parliament and change the political regime are caused by the non-recognition of the results of the previous elections and the resulting political balances.”

“These calls are an implicit targeting of Ennahda Movement’s position in the political life, which the people have elected it in the first place despite the slander it faced in the previous parliamentary period,” added Goumani.

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He further stressed that these calls also aim to underestimate the role of parliament, although it is considered a symbol of democracy, clarifying that there are legal mechanisms for changing the political regime.

Goumani stated that the differences between the ruling parties through the foolery that we sometimes witness in parliament, in addition to social and economic failure, may lead to the growth of protests.

Goumani went on, explaining that these calls are issued by unknown parties or suspects who have suspicious relations with some countries, indicating that the revolution of the hungry or the poor is part of the counter-revolution’s agenda.

Well-known funding sources

Goumani emphasised that calling for a revolution of the poor or the hungry as described by those spreading false news and confusion, is similar to what happened in Egypt, in what is known as the protests of 30 June, 2013, before the country plunged into the repression of the press and freedoms and even encroachment on those who support them.

Known agendas

The Chairman of Ennahda Movement’s Shura Council Abdelkarim Harouni told Mugtama that some opposition political forces are calling for violence, exclusion and the division of Tunisians and are inciting a “civil war”.

Both Ennahda and the political authorities in the country will not accept the practice of violence against the state, added Harouni, calling for vigilance in the face of these externally-backed calls.

He asserted that some voices are trying to use this difficult period to abet Tunisians to the “revolution of the hungry” and topple the legitimate state institutions by investing in hunger and poverty, but Tunisians will not engage in these agendas.

The leader of Ennahda explained that the movement called for setting an ethical and political charter between the various ruling parties, in order to achieve harmony and find consensus under the ruling parliament.

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