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Tunisia: more calls for president’s ‘coup’ to be stopped

September 23, 2021 at 3:01 pm

Tunisian protest against President Kais Saied during in the capital Tunis on September 18, 2021, denouncing the measures he introduced on July 25 and the extension of the state of emergency. [Yassine Gaidi – Anadolu Agency]

More politicians in Tunisia have come forward to say that President Kais Saied should be removed from office due to what they call a “coup against the constitution” and a prelude to the country’s return to tyranny.

This follows Saied’s suspension yesterday of most articles of the constitution. Parliament, meanwhile, remains suspended.

“The presidential declaration means an official withdrawal from the constitutional circle within which the alleged movement and disclosure of the coup d’état blatantly took place,” wrote Habib Khader MP.

According to Mohamed Al-Qumani, a senior official of Ennahda movement, “Presidential Order 117 of 2021 places President Kais Saied in the position of a blatant coup and absolute autocracy. It pushes Tunisia into the high-risk zone and engages it in an expensive battle for legitimacy.”

Saied: The exceptional measures will continue in Tunisia

One of Qumani’s senior colleagues in Ennahda, Samir Dilou, said that 22 September 2021 marks the day that Tunisia moved from democratic rule to autocracy and from a legitimate authority to a de facto authority. “By approving the suspension of the constitution and the dissolution of the temporary authority for the control of the constitutionality of laws, Saied has lost his constitutional legitimacy and has become an outlaw. All the country’s active forces have an obligation to isolate him.”

All that remains for Saied to do, commented Judge Ahmed Rahmouni, is to sit on the bench of the courts.

“He has abolished 60 years of the republic and republican rule with the stroke of a pen and declared himself to be an absolute monarch,” wrote constitutional scholar Jawhar Bin Mubarak. “We will step forward to defend the republic,” he added later.

Is Tunisia's state of emergency being used to restrict freedoms? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Is Tunisia’s state of emergency being used to restrict freedoms? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

The leader of the Heart of Tunisia party. Osama Al-Khelaifi, wrote: “There is no small or major constitution. There is only one constitution in Tunisia that everyone swears by, and any deviation from it and its provisions is a deviation from legitimacy. We will not acknowledge any decision outside the constitution after today. Either we return to the constitutional path away from fraud and deceit, or we will announce the end of legitimacy.”

Independent MP Ayachi Zamal insisted that silence is no longer an option. “Do not remain silent in the face of the accusations that affect our people, nor regarding the absurdity that is taking place in Tunisia, the transgression of the law, the violation of the constitution, and the attack on the rights and dignity of individuals. Those who remain silent on this matter are afraid because they are corrupt or they remain silent because they are cowards and opportunists.”

Those who turn against the country’s constitution lose legitimacy and need to be deterred, warned Said Ghazi Al-Shawashi, the Secretary General of the Democratic Current Party.

Tunisia: ex-president calls for Saied’s dismissal and prosecution

The founder of the same party, Mohamed Abbou, added: “We resorted to a president around whom there are many question marks to put an end to political corruption, which has closed all doors of progress for Tunisia, a country that has all the criteria for improvement if the political will is present.”

Instead of targeting the system of corruption against which Saied could do nothing, said Abbou, he took advantage of this urgent need. “He has declared that he has taken control of the state in the service of a frivolous project that targets Tunisians who are likely to be fooled. When the country’s conditions deteriorate, they will discover that they were victims and that they are the reason why Kais Saied has dared to target the country’s constitution and its nascent democracy.” The country needs to be cleansed of corruption, he concluded, not pushed towards a mysterious project made by a mysterious person who has no other objective than to seek popularity by spreading illusions.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rached Ghannouchi, confirmed to Al-Quds Al-Arabi his rejection of the new measures announced by President Kais Saied. Ghannouchi stressed that Tunisia is experiencing a “blatant revolution against the democratic path and the civil state.”