Tunisia’s Labour Union Calls for Early Elections

Noureddine Taboubi, leader of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), on Saturday said the reluctance of the president to announce a roadmap for political reforms is a concern for the country’s democratic gains.

The UGTT leader, therefore, called for early elections in a speech to thousands of his supporters.

Taboubi’s comments put more pressure on President Kais Saied, more than four months after he seized all political powers.

“We supported July 25 because it was an opportunity to save the country and implement reforms … but we have become afraid for Tunisians’ democratic gains because of the excessive reluctance to announce a roadmap,” Taboubi said.

According to him, the president should hold a dialogue with political parties and national organizations to review the electoral law and to agree on early and transparent elections.

UGTT, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 for fostering democracy in Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, is a key political player in the country.

The president suspended parliament and dismissed the government on July 25, installing a new prime minister and announcing he would rule by decree. The move was criticized as a coup.

He has defended taking over the government as the best way to end governmental paralysis and economic stagnation following years of political squabbling. He also promised to uphold rights and freedoms won in the 2011 revolution.

Saied also promised to end the emergency state quickly, but he has not given a deadline, and pressure has grown for him to present a roadmap to return to democracy.

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