Thursday, August 11, 2022

International- Tunisian Political Crisis

A power struggle

A power struggle in Tunisia threatens the delicate democracy because of Tunisian Political Crisis. It was one among the few bright spots of the 2011 Arab Spring.  The movement to oust dictators across the Middle East.  

Over the weekend, President Kais Saied plunged the country into crisis. He shut down parliament for 30 days and fired the Prime Minister of Tunisian because of the country’s defense and justice ministers. The military surrounded the parliament and helped him. A nighttime curfew has been imposed and gatherings of quite three people are forbidden.

Kais Saied

Saied was elected in 2019, he justified the move citing the constitution in Tunisian. Further added that it was necessary after the violent mass protests on Sunday. Demonstrators across the country mobilized over the weekend demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister and his cabinet. The allegation being mishandling of the Coronavirus Pandemic and therefore the country’s near-economic collapse. Critics have labelled it as a coup. They say the President, who now controls the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the govt, is reestablishing an equivalent sort of authoritarian government the revolution ousted a decade ago. Saied’s supporters, are celebrating Sunday’s dramatic turn and therefore the removal of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi. They say it seems like fresh hope after years of chaos and disappointment. Some are standing alongside soldiers who’ve surrounded parliament, blocking legislators from entering.

Kais Saied

Arab Spring

Background:

  • The Arab Spring was series of loosely related protests that led to changes in government in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Not all were successful despite the popular support.

The reason was that the top goal was increasing democracy and freedom. Following the Arab Spring instability and oppression increased.

In December 2010, Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire. He protested against the arbitrary seizing of his vegetables by the police. They did so as Mohammed had failed to obtain a permit.

This act catalyzed the now-famous Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia. It led to street protests within the capital of Tunis and quickly spread throughout the country. The protests forced President Abidine Ben Ali to abdicate and flee to Saudi Arabia after ruling Tunisia for 20 years. Activists in other nations took a cue from the events in Tunisia. Inspired by the first parliamentary democratic elections in October 2011 that took place in Tunisia, they began protests of their own by Tunisians.

COVID 19 adding fuel to fire:

  • Discontent has been brewing in Tunisia since the revolution in 2011. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the country’s economy and health care system toward the brink of collapse in Tunisian. While the Arab Spring movement ushered in democracy and long-awaited freedom of expression.  Tunisians say the string of governments since have failed to deliver fixes for unemployment, poverty, inflation, and poor social services.

Saied vs. Ennahda

Saied appointed Mechichi to the PM post following his election in 2019, but the two are caught in a power struggle ever since. Mechichi’s predecessor was forced out after only months on the work over a corruption scandal.

The populist president swept into office on promises of removing political corruption, is additionally at odds with leaders of Ennahda. The moderate Islamist party is the most important group in parliament and blame for the nation’s current woes.

On 25 July, Rached Ghannouchi, who leads Ennahda and the speaker of parliament, tried to enter the building. On 25 July, Rached Ghannouchi, leader Ennahda and the speaker of parliament, tried to enter the building. The troops blocked him.

Standing ahead of the barricade the 80-year-old denounced Saied’s unilateral takeover. He repeated to involve Ennahda loyalists against Saied supporters. “I am against gathering all powers in the hands of one person,” he said outside the parliament building.

Ghannouchi disputes Saied’s argument on the grounds that the constitution sanctions his actions. Further adds that Ennahda, not the president, has the proper to nominate Mechichi’s replacement.

Saied vs. Ennahda

President Saied maintains that he stepped in to “save the state”. In a country where the injuries of decades-long dictatorship are yet to heal, his move to dissolve an elected government raised concerns.

The President and Parliament are elected popularly. Mr. Mechichi had the backing of Ennahda, the most important party within the suspended Parliament. President Saied, who is an independent, has had a testy relationship with Ennahda and therefore the Prime Minister of Tunisian.

While the Mechichi government has clearly failed in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. The President’s move to dissolve Parliament appears more an influence grab than a real plan to address the country’s problems. Ennahda and a minimum of two other parties have accused Mr. Saied of orchestrating a coup.

If they resort to protests, it might pitch the parties that control Parliament against the President, deepening political instability. The 2014 Constitution has involved a constitutional court to settle crises like these, but the court has not been formed yet. Under the Constitution, the President oversees only the Tunisian military and foreign affairs. While the Prime Minister is responsible for the day-to-day affairs of governance.

So to avoid a constitutional crisis, the President will need to appoint a major Minister. He should win the arrogance of the Assembly of the People’s Representatives. Mr. Saied should act within his constitutional limits, recall Parliament and permit the formation of a legitimate government. They could take steps to deal with Tunisia’s economic and healthcare woes.

Also, Read- Secret Holy Cave of Dakinis – Discovery Sikkim

Aayush Singh
Aayush Singh is currently pursuing his Bachelors in Economics Honours from Ramanujan College affiliated with Delhi University. His areas of interest are public speaking and content writing. He is also a YouTuber with more than 1000 subscribers. He loves to face challenges and overcome them with a never give up attitude . Follow him on Instagram - @aayushsingh.007 Subscribe his YouTube channel - Learn & Grow

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