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Old interview by Kais Saied confirms his intention to enact a coup

Tunisian forces take security measures around parliament during a protest against suspending parliament, in Tunis, Tunisia on 26 July 2021 [Nacer Talel/Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian forces take security measures around parliament during a protest against suspending parliament, in Tunis, Tunisia on 26 July 2021 [Nacer Talel/Anadolu Agency]

An old interview given by Tunisian President Kais Saied during his candidacy to the post confirms his predetermined intention to effect a coup against the constitution. This proves that his recent measures have nothing to do with the performance of the current parliament or the paths pursued by the government of Hicham Mechichi.

According to a Tunisian analyst who spoke to Arabi21, Saied's political agenda indicates that he deliberately obstructed the formation of the Constitutional Court and "disrupted the wheels of the state" in order to arrive at a condition of political impasse that would grant him the excuse to resort to Article 80 of the Constitution so as to effect a coup against the political system. This was exactly what happened on 25 July.

In an interview published by Morocco's Acharaa newspaper on 12 July 2019, Saied declared that he intended to abolish parliamentary elections and "elevate parliamentary representatives from local councils by draw." He also stressed that he would fight against domestic or external support for societies, implying that he wanted to disrupt the work of civil society institutions that are essential for any democracy. According to his vision, political parties would eventually disappear once a new constitution is put in place.

In the aforementioned interview, Saied also said that his election programme is based on "a new political thinking that would be interpreted in terms of a new constitutional text." He added that he would propose the creation of local councils in every province, totalling 265, with each province represented by one deputy, whereby polling takes place to select individuals by a majority vote, and where selection as to who will represent the local council at the regional level eventually takes place by means of a draw.

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Saied also confirmed that he would abolish direct parliamentary elections and that the members of parliament, whom he suggested would be 265, would be elevated from "the local councils to the regional ones and finally to parliament and that elections would be restricted to the presidency and the local councils."

In the interview, Saied said the "era of political parties has come to an end." Adding that he would not abolish them himself, but that they would disappear as they had "ended up on the margins of life".

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