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Tunisia: Opposition studying action against Saied as pressure increases 

President of the Republic of Tunisia Kais Saied at the Royal Palace on June 03, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium [Olivier Matthys/Getty Images]
President of the Republic of Tunisia Kais Saied at the Royal Palace on June 03, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium [Olivier Matthys/Getty Images]

Pressure has increased domestically and internationally on Tunisian President Kais Saied to set a clear time limit for his "extraordinary measures". President Saied recently expressed his intention to change the country's constitution, considering it a major cause of Tunisia's political crisis.

On Friday, the ambassadors of seven countries (the US, Germany, France, the UK, Japan, Italy, Canada) and the European Union delegation in Tunisia called for setting a clear time limit to allow for a "quick return" to functioning democratic institutions, including an elected Parliament.

The statement emphasised that the return of Parliament's work would help to ensure broad and lasting support for Tunisia's progress.

The statement drew attention to: "The importance of respecting fundamental freedoms of all Tunisians, along with inclusiveness and transparency of the process of engaging all parties concerned, including the various voices in the political spectrum and civil society."

READ: Ghannouchi meets French envoy, discuss situation in Tunisia

The statement stressed: "Setting a clear time limit to allow for a quick return to the functioning of democratic institutions, including an elected Parliament."

In a statement on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Friday, the Tunisian Human Rights League called for the need to: "Accelerate the process of putting an end to the exceptional measures in the country and mapping the political life within the framework of a participatory vision."

The Tunisian Human Rights League communicated its "concern about what might affect the essence of civil life in Tunisia, which is based on a genuine separation of powers," and warned of the "danger of infringement to private and public freedoms."

Independence of the judiciary

In response to President Saied's statements, the High Council of the Judiciary announced its insistence to regard the judiciary as an independent authority of the state, according to an official account.

The official account was a rejoinder to the president, who addressed constitutional law professors during a meeting, stating: "You know that better than many people, the judiciary in the first place is a function, the power and sovereignty belong to the people, and all the rest are functions that should not form an authority independent of the state. Decisions rendered in the name of the Tunisian people and the judiciary is a function, not an independent authority, not an established authority independent of the state."

The council called upon all judges and components of the justice system in Tunisia to uphold the achievements of the independent judiciary. It also announced keeping its plenary meeting in permanent session to monitor any infringement of the independence of the judiciary.

Resolving the political crisis

Secretary-General of the Tunisian Labour Union Noureddine Taboubi confirmed that a project is being prepared by the union to help escape the country's political crisis, which will soon be presented to the public.

During a union meeting, Taboubi stated: "The union does not have any differences with the President of the Republic Kais Saied, and it supports the corrective path, provided that the reform vision is clear and the active national forces in the country are actively involved in this path."

He added: "The union is about to prepare a project and a concept on emerging from the country's political crisis, and it will soon be presented to the union's governing structures and public opinion."

READ: Tunisia's Ennahda slams 'smear campaign'

Opposition action

Secretary-General of the Democratic Current Party Ghazi Chaouachi disclosed in statements to a private broadcaster that President Saied: "Took his chance, he's done, and he no longer can save the country."

Chaouachi stressed that after five months of Saied's governing through exceptional measures, the result was "tampering with the people and the state."

The secretary-general of the Democratic Current Party revealed that parties, organisations, and the labour union would confront the president "to save the country from this tampering."

Chaouachi announced that action would begin on 17 December and that arrangements for this have already commenced with all means available to defend democracy.

Is Tunisia's president Kais Saied like Louis XIV, King of France? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Is Tunisia's president Kais Saied like Louis XIV, King of France? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

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