Tunisia’s Political Crisis Deepen as President Saied Blows Hot

President Kais Saied to Allow Public Views on Reforms in Tunisia (News Central TV)
President Kais Saied to Allow Public Views on Reforms in Tunisia (News Central TV)

The Tunisian President Kais Saied’s decision to dissolve parliament has been greeted by so much political drama, and one that could define the outcome of Tunisia’s continuing political crisis.

After the announcement on Wednesday, the Tunisian parliament reached an agreement to reconvene virtually in opposition to Saied, who had in earlier in July 2021, suspended parliament. Their aim was to cast votes to end the president’s emergency rule. 

Saied, upon getting wind of the plan, did all he could to stop the vote from taking place. He reportedly blocked online video platforms like zoom and Microsoft Teams within the country. 

Unfortunately for the president, the vote still took place. Angered by this, he gave a late night address hours after the votes were carried out successfully, in which he accused parliament of trying to “stage a coup with foreign intervention.”

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Tunisia’s Opposition Party Ennahda Rejects Dissolution of Parliament (News Central TV)
Tunisia’s Opposition Party Ennahda Rejects Dissolution of Parliament

President Saied then declared that a new constitution will be drafted, which will make provisions for elections to hold in December, instead of the official time stated. He added that no “conspirators” will be permitted to run for any political position.

The tension between the president and parliament has undoubtedly left Tunisia in an uncertain legal stalemate and political crisis, as the conflict keep deepening.

“The parliamentary vote is historic because it removes the legal legitimacy from [Saied’s July 2021] coup, and delivers a clear message to the Tunisian people and Tunisia’s international partners that the parliament is intent on fulfilling its role in protecting the democratic gains of the 2011 revolution,” a Tunisian against Saied’s leadership stated. 

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“The parliament is defending the state institutions, and asserting that it is the primary legislative body and has authority over the president, who has revolted against the Constitution,” Bargougi, who has been sentenced by a military court in absentia for opposing Saied’s power grab, added.

Meanwhile, Riyadh Jrad said “The full force of the law will be brought to bear [on members of parliament who voted against Saied].”

Political analysts have observed that, international communities may likely distance themselves from President Kais Saied, as it seems he is leading the country away from democracy.

The Justice Minister to Saied, has revealed that members of the parliament who voted against Saied, have been summoned by Tunisia’s anti-terrorism unit for investigation on account of conspiring against the state.

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Tunisia is now closer than ever to one-man totalitarian rule. The dissolution of parliament, and consequently of democratic elections in the country, ensures that Tunisians’ choices may be tampered with. The position of the president and parliament remains unclear.

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