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Tunisia: President's most prominent supporters call for his overthrow

November 13, 2021 at 1:56 pm

Ennahdha Party’s Abdelfattah Mourou (L), Democratic Current party Mohamed Abbou (C), Al-Irada’s Moncef Marzouki (R) and other candidates for the presidential election in Tunisia attend a discussion program ahead of the Presidential election in Tunisia, on September 7, 2019 in Tunis, Tunisia [Yassine Gaidi / Anadolu Agency]

Mohamed Abbou, founder of the Tunisian Democratic Current Party, was subjected to a wave of criticism after he demanded the overthrow of President Kais Saied by any “legal or illegal” means.

“Kais Saied must fall by any legal or illegal means,” asserted Abbou, who until recently was the president’s most prominent supporter, noting that he no longer considers Saied as president of Tunisia.

Abbou’s statements sparked a wave of controversy, as political analyst Abdellatif Derbala wrote:

Mohamed Abbou firmly believed in Kais Saied, his politics and his ‘purity’, despite what he showed in the first months of his presidency of manoeuvres and indications of an obsession with possessing all power.

Derbala indicated that Abbou considered Saied: “A saviour of the country, and loved working with him and defending him and all his mistakes fiercely, and he was the first to publicly encourage President Saied to activate Article 80 of the Constitution in a completely different constitutional and legal meaning.”

Derbala added: “Abbou called on him to deploy the army in the streets to impose exceptional measures by force through several actions, including arresting political, public, economic and financial figures and placing them under house arrest in the name of fighting corruption, excluding political parties from the arena and from the upcoming elections in the name of implementing the law, and conducting quick and exceptional trials under the pretext of imposing order.”

He continued: “Abbou is an unfortunate, blatant and scandalous example of what politicians can be when they have no deep political thought, no strategic vision, no foresight, no knowledge of history, and their horizons are narrow, and they are only chasing after tactical interests and immediate political gains without assessing the risks and consequences. This type of politician does not appreciate that experience simply proves that whoever opens the door to violating the constitution and the law will not later be able to stop violating the constitution and the law.”

Read: Ennahda holds Saied and his interior minister responsible for the Aguereb incidents

Political analyst Nasr Eddine Souilmi shared his view that: “Mohamed Abbou calls for the overthrow of Kais Saied! Why do we say that the stages of democratic transition require deliberation and reason that differentiates between the battles of reform and the battles of establishment? In a democratic establishment, it is necessary to preserve the triangle of life: the constitution as a rule, elections as a facilitator and an independent election commission as a rule. I build this triangle without touching it, and in parallel, I enter into battles against corruption, nepotism, marginalisation, unemployment, high prices and random strikes, and be patient!”

A number of activists mocked Abbou, indicating that President Saied is beginning to lose his allies with the increasing expansion of opponents of his exceptional measures.

Representative Yassine Ayari conveyed in a radio statement: “The politician Mohamed Abbou and his wife, Representative Samia Abbou, aspired to obtain benefits from the application of Article 80, but they lost instead. Unfortunately, I did not expect them to seek positions and renounce their democratic principles.”

Abbou called on President Saied on several occasions to activate Article 80 of the Constitution and called on him to arrest the corrupt and confiscate their property, noting: “In the event that the judiciary does not perform its duty, the head of state passes to place them under house arrest.”

In his last speech, President Saied referred to the changes in the positions of some of his former allies after they preferred to obtain posts in the new government.