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Tunisia labour union calls on gov't to take charge of economic crisis

Tunisians gather to stage a demonstration to protest against political, social and economic crisis, in Tunis, Tunisia on 6 March 2021 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]
Tunisians gather to stage a demonstration to protest against political, social and economic crisis, in Tunis, Tunisia on 6 March 2021 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

The Tunisian General Labour Union yesterday called on the government to assume responsibility for finding solutions to the economic crises the country is facing.

Noureddine Al-Taboubi, secretary-general of the union, called on the government to "be explicit with the Tunisian people regarding the difficult situation … it is time for frankness, taking responsibility, and searching for solutions together."

"The people," he continued, "have the right to know the reality of their country and not be lied to."

Newly appointed Prime Minister Najla Boden has little authority, Al-Taboubi explained, as President Kais Saied is the one who possesses the executive authority.

"In every issue we discuss with her, she asks to consult the president before making any decision, and thus she becomes just a mediator in negotiations."

The Tunisian budget deficit reached 2.63 billion dinars ($947.1 million) in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance and is expected to rise to 7.94 billion dinars ($2.85 billion) in 2021, equivalent to 6.6 per cent of GDP.

READ: Tunisia parties reject president's use of army in political struggles

Saied has held nearly total power since 25 July when he sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority citing a national emergency.

He appointed a prime minister on 29 September and a government has since been formed.

The majority of the country's political parties slammed the move as a "coup against the constitution" and the achievements of the 2011

revolution. Critics say Saied's decisions have strengthened the powers of the presidency at the expense of parliament and the government, and that he aims to transform the country's government into a presidential system.

On more than one occasion, Saied, who began a five-year presidential term in 2019, said that his exceptional decisions are not a coup, but rather measures within the framework of the constitution to protect the state from "imminent danger".

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]

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