The political advisor of Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi has expressed the movement's rejection of the Tunisian army's interference in politics. Dr Riadh Chaibi added that President Kais Saied's upcoming referendum on the constitution "will fail" in the same way that his national consultation has failed.
In an exclusive interview with Al-Quds Al-Arabi, Chaibi said: "We hoped that retired army officer Akrout will be silent and express reservations about the political situation in the country, in order not to raise such doubt about his relationship with the military institution, especially about a possible political position by this institution regarding the political conflict in the country." Retired General Kamel Akrout called on President Kais Saied in a strongly-worded letter to "break his isolation" and doubted his "ability to save the country."
Chaibi added that although army commanders are partially responsible for closing parliament and implementing the president's measures that are viewed by many as illegal, "We believe that the legal scope of that is conviction or acquittal and not acceptance of the army's interference in political affairs."
What happened in Tunisia since last July, he said, is a retreat from democracy when the head of the executive authority bypassed his powers and violated legitimate state institutions. "Since then, we are fighting in our democratic battle to overthrow this coup, and we call on the Tunisian army to be impartial in this political conflict as prescribed by the constitution and by the charters of the democratic administration of military and security institutions."
With regard to the upcoming referendum on the "new constitution" scheduled in July, Chaibi said that it will fail. "We rejected Saied's road map, so we did not participate in the online consultation the results of which confirmed the legitimacy of our approach which is that any non-participatory political step will not gain the trust of Tunisians."
Instead of reviewing his methods, he continued, the president moves forward and tries to impose his agenda without the involvement of any party while neglecting the will of all. "Hence, he is going alone and isolated to organise his referendum, which will also fail politically and popularly, just as the consultation failed.
"Constitutional and legal amendments proposed [by the president], lack the most basic conditions for acceptance. I do not think that any political or civil actor will accept these amendments. If he does, this means his death sentence in the end, given that the president's populist project aims to dismantle the state and dissolve all of society's institutions."