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Tunisia: youth alliance hopes to ease political crisis

September 8, 2021 at 1:08 pm

Tunisians stage a protest in response to the problems in the country in Tunis, Tunisia on 25 July 2021 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Young people in Tunisia have formed the Youth Alliance for Democracy, with the aim of working to resolve the political crisis in the country since the president of the republic announced in July that he was freezing parliament, dismissing the prime minister and assuming executive power, Anadolu has reported.

Yassine Fathali of the Sidi Hussein Youth Association was one of those who have formed the alliance. He told a press conference in the capital, Tunis, that he supports President Kais Saied’s decisions, with reservations, to ensure that there is no turning back to the previous situation.

Most parties have rejected the exceptional measures taken by Saied, calling them “a coup against the constitution. Those who support them believe that the president is taking the only way forward to correct the course of the revolution in light of the ongoing political, economic and health crises.

Fathali expressed concerns about the oppression of protesters as well as attacks on freedom of expression and the media. Protesters were targeted after taking to the streets of Tunis in a demonstration remembering the assassination of leftist leader Chokri Belaid in 2013. According to local media, the security forces used excessive force to disperse the protesters. The authorities have not issued any formal statement about this allegation.

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Despite his support for the president’s measures, Fathali warned that taking over the country’s legislative, executive and judicial powers “threatens democracy” in Tunisia. He urged Saied “to form a national salvation government, hold an early legislative election and establish a new parliament, in order to resume the functioning of state institutions in accordance with the 2014 constitution.”

The activist believes that all of the parties which have participated in governments since the 2011 revolution and the downfall of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali have contributed to the people’s great disappointment, and must share responsibility for the current economic, social and political impasse.

“These parties should step down and give the opportunity to new parties of young people to change the political scene,” he said. “The Youth Alliance for Democracy will develop and submit these proposals to President Saied to consider the demands of marginalised Tunisian youth.”