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Tunisia: Neutrality of security forces may not last if the people act, warns Ghannouchi

The speaker of Tunisia's parliament Rached Ghannouchi speaks with AFP in the capital Tunis, on March 31, 2022 [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]
The speaker of Tunisia's parliament Rached Ghannouchi speaks with AFP in the capital Tunis, on March 31, 2022 [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

The leader of Tunisia's Ennahda Movement, and the speaker of the dissolved parliament, Rached Ghannouchi has warned that the military establishment and security services will not remain spectators for long if the people decide to act during the current crisis.

"The two institutions are subject to the constitution," Ghannouchi told the BBC, "and their commitment to neutrality may not last if the Tunisian people act."

Former officials, including one-time interim President Moncef Marzouki, have called explicitly for the army to intervene against what has been described as the coup of current President Kais Saied, who imposed "exceptional measures" last July and has since taken control of most state institutions. In response, Ennahda has moved to the opposition to lead the National Salvation Front initiative.

Ghannouchi appears to be confident that the post-July phase will end soon. "The Tunisians who succeeded in leading a revolution that enlightened the Arab region, are able to do so again." He confessed that he made a major mistake by supporting Saied in the second round of the Tunisian presidential election in 2019.

"The crisis in Tunisia was basically economic and social before Saied turned against the constitution," said Ghannouchi. "This added a political dimension to it and may push the country towards bankruptcy."

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