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Tunisia Labour Union criticises President Saied's exclusion of national participation on reforms

March 22, 2022 at 2:05 pm

Noureddine Taboubi, secretary-general of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) in Tunis on December 4, 2021 [SOFIENE HAMDAOUI/AFP via Getty Images]

Noureddine Taboubi, Secretary-General of the Tunisian General Labour Union UGTT, issued scathing and veiled criticism of President Kais Saied on Monday, at the conclusion of the electronic national consultation that Saied launched two months ago in preparation for a popular referendum.

The UGTT, which is considered the largest Union in the country, and has a political and traditional influence on Tunisia’s modern history, disagrees with President Saied about the national consultation on an online platform.

The UGTT calls for a direct national dialogue, in which all national organisations and political parties participate, a step that President Saied has avoided since announcing the exceptional measures in the country, when he suspended the Parliament last July preferring, instead, to adopt an unprecedented method in Tunisia.

Tunisia's president Kais Saied is bleeding the country - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Tunisia’s president Kais Saied is bleeding the country – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

In a labour gathering in Jendouba on Monday, Taboubi stated to reporters commenting on the national consultation: “He (the President) wants to adopt a new method to be as an indication, he has the right to do so, but there is a direct dialogue that leads to results, which is the basis.”

“The parties in the country are not ‘Kardouna soldiers’, which means that they will not be satisfied with playing the role of a spectator,” Taboubi added.

Taboubi’s statement comes hours after President Saied’s speech on Sunday evening, on the occasion of the conclusion of the national consultation, which is supposed to be followed by a popular referendum on political and constitutional reforms on 25 July.

Despite the statement of President Saied during his speech, that everyone will be granted the right to express their views and positions on the new system of governance before the formation committee issues a report prior to the referendum, he did not explicitly refer to direct participation of parties and organisations.

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Likewise, Saied did not refer to the manner in which the scheduled dialogue on reforms will be carried out. This point represents the basis of a fundamental dispute between the UGTT and its political opponents.

“Throughout history, there are real major components of people who sacrificed their blood and made a contribution in building the state of independence, the modern state that everyone dreams of,” Taboubi added.

The parties that oppose President Saied have taken more rigid positions, as they announced their opposition to the national consultation, calling for a boycott of it. They have rejected the road map presented by the President, including referendum and the parliamentary elections scheduled for 17 December.