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Tunisia: president's popularity rating falls amid growing hostility towards UAE

President of Tunisia Kais Saied in Brussels, Belgium on June 04, 2021. [Dursun Aydemir - Anadolu Agency]
President of Tunisia Kais Saied in Brussels, Belgium on June 04, 2021 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

A new opinion poll in Tunisia has revealed a significant drop in the popularity of President Kais Saied, as well as the leader of the Free Destourian Party, Abir Moussi. There is also a wave of discontent towards UAE and French interference in Tunisian politics.

The poll was conducted among a sample of 1,200 people spread over eight regions and from different age and social groups, with a margin of error not exceeding 2.5 per cent. As the satisfaction level of the president's performance fell, journalist and MP Safi Said topped the ranking as a preferred candidate for political office. He was a candidate in the presidential elections in 2014 and 2019.

In terms of support for political parties, while the Free Destourian Party's popularity fell, people were apparently more content with the Heart of Tunisia party. Ennahda movement, meanwhile, continues to maintain steady support.

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As far as the negative foreign interference in Tunisian politics is concerned, the UAE and France were rated badly, with 37.6 per cent and 27 per cent of respondents respectively thinking that they had too much influence. Similar involvement by countries such as Turkey with 17.8 per cent, the US 7.8 per cent, and Qatar and Italy with about 4.9 per cent each, also figured in the poll. Most of the parties in Tunisia, 53 per cent of respondents agreed, are endorsed by foreign states to some degree.

Former minister Neji Jalloul expressed his appreciation of the Tunisian people's awareness of the extent of foreign interference. Corrupt money, he said, is infecting the political arena. He urged the political actors to change the entire political system, declare the country's political, economic and social spheres to be bankrupt, and confront Tunisians with the whole truth about the current situation, warts and all.

According to former Employment Minister Fawzi Abdel Rahman, polling companies are deliberately misleading the Tunisian people by providing false statistics aimed at misguiding the electorate.

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