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Tunisia: there must be national dialogue, insists Ghannouchi

January 23, 2023 at 11:05 am

Tunisia’s Ennahdha Islamist Party Leader Rached Ghannouchi [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

The head of Tunisia’s Ennahda Movement and Speaker of the Tunisian Parliament, Rached Ghannouchi, has said that the president’s “coup” has lost its sustainability and is heading towards its end, and it is time for a fully inclusive national dialogue. Ghannouchi made his comment on Zitouna TV on Saturday.

“Tunisia is on the wrong path towards a more rapid deterioration in its situation, and there is a need to organise a national dialogue between the forces defending the Tunisian revolution and the 2014 constitution,” the veteran politician insisted. “We need a serious stand by all wise and prudent Tunisians to organise this dialogue. The exclusion of anyone is more dangerous than the coup, and Tunisia needs consensus and coexistence without exclusion.”

According to Ghannouchi, Tunisian President Kais Saied is imposing one-person rule and tyranny. “Saied considers himself the envoy of divine providence for the Tunisian people and the world, and considers his opponents to be demons and traitors who have been marginalised by history.” He stressed that the economic and social conditions in Tunisia have worsened considerably since Saied imposed his own tight grip on the legislative, judicial and executive branches of the government.

“The Tunisian people demonstrated a high level of awareness on 17 December when they rejected and boycotted the legislative election,” explained Ennahda’s leader. “This was also proved on the anniversary of the revolution, when Tunisians of all political backgrounds came out and filled Avenue Habib Bourguiba and showed that the revolution still has its supporters.”

Tunisia has suffered from a political crisis that has affected the whole country since President Kais Saied imposed exceptional measures on 25 July, 2021. The most prominent of these measures was the dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council and parliament, issuing legislation by presidential decrees, approving a new constitution, and holding an early legislative election last month.

The majority of political and civil forces in Tunisia reject Saied’s measures, and regard them as a “coup against the constitution”. Saied’s supporters, meanwhile, view them as a “correction of the course of the 2011 revolution” which ended the rule of President Ben Ali.

Saied himself described his measures as both “necessary and legal” to save the state from “total collapse.”

READ: Tunisia Ennahda supporters call for release of movement’s deputy chairman