How Tunisia’s president has tightened his grip – Occasions of India

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Presidential candidate Kais Saied

TUNIS: President Kais Saied has been steadily consolidating his grip over Tunisia since seizing broad powers a 12 months in the past.
As he places a brand new structure to a referendum on Monday, critics imagine it would formalise what they see as a march to one-man rule that has trashed the democratic positive aspects set in prepare by the 2011 revolution.
Saied says he goals to avoid wasting a rustic that was mired in political paralysis and financial malaise, by remaking its governing system and overhauling the 2014 structure.
Listed here are the methods he has tightened his grip, ranging from July 25, 2021, when he froze parliament and fired the prime minister.
Saied invoked Article 80 of the structure to fireplace Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi. Parliament speaker Rached Ghannouchi, head of the Islamist Ennahda occasion, stated he had not been consulted on the transfer, as required.
Two months later, Saied appointed a brand new authorities below Najla Bouden however with out searching for the parliamentary backing required below the structure.
The strikes undermined parliament’s central function in cupboard formation, enshrined within the 2014 structure.
Bouden has stated little in public, and critics say her ministers seem to have been chosen largely by Saied, who has additionally decreed that they reply to him, not the prime minister.
After freezing parliament, Saied stated there can be “no going again”, ordered the army to encompass parliament, and eliminated lawmakers’ pay and immunity.
Authorized specialists stated the transfer had no constitutional foundation.
Since then, a army courtroom has jailed a number of lawmakers on costs of assaulting police.
In March a majority of lawmakers defied Saied by holding an internet session rejecting all his strikes. He then dismissed the parliament – one other transfer authorized specialists stated had no constitutional foundation – and demanded investigations into members who had joined the net assembly, accusing them of a coup.
He has stated he desires elections to a brand new parliament earlier than the top of the 12 months.
Two months after his intervention, Saied issued a string of decrees brushing apart a lot of the 2014 structure and giving himself the facility to rule by decree – a transfer which he stated was constitutionally legitimate however which authorized students have contested.
Saied held an internet multiple-choice session over what Tunisians needed for his or her political system, however few took half. Critics described the survey as slanted to attain the outcomes he sought.
He appointed a panel to put in writing a brand new structure that he stated can be partly based mostly on the outcomes of that survey.
However he rewrote the model they submitted to him, based on the panel’s members, and printed the draft lower than a month in the past – giving Tunisians little time to soak up his proposed adjustments earlier than Monday’s referendum.
The referendum guidelines don’t set any minimal degree of participation, that means even a really small turnout may permit Saied to impose the brand new structure.
Saied voiced annoyance with the judiciary as his repeated efforts to deliver corruption costs in opposition to distinguished politicians and businessmen stalled in courtroom, and as high judges questioned the legitimacy of his constitutional adjustments.
In March he changed the Supreme Judicial Council – an unbiased physique that appoints or dismisses judges – and in June he fired 57 judges, together with the previous head of the council.
For the reason that 2011 revolution, Tunisia’s dealing with of elections has received worldwide reward as broadly free and honest.
Nonetheless, in April Saied changed the unbiased electoral fee with members chosen by himself, a transfer extensively seen as undermining the integrity of future votes.
He additionally decreed adjustments to the voting system, saying parliamentary elections would happen in two rounds as an alternative of 1 and with voters choosing people relatively than lists, thereby weakening political events by making it tougher for voters to determine their candidates.
Saied has changed quite a few public officers in any respect ranges of the state over the previous 12 months in a shake-up that analysts say has aimed to take away folks linked to Ennahda.
Senior safety officers, regional and native governors and civil bureaucrats have all been changed with Saied’s personal most well-liked candidates.


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