Thousands rally for Tunisian president, urging change to political system By Reuters


© Reuters. Supporters of Tunisian President Kais Saied rally in assist of his seizure of energy and suspension of parliament, in Tunis, Tunisia, October 3, 2021. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi


By Tarek Amara

TUNIS (Reuters) -1000’s of supporters of Tunisian President Kais Saied rallied within the capital on Sunday to again his suspension of parliament and guarantees to vary the political system, acts his critics name a coup.

The demonstration in central Tunis was by far the largest since Saied seized govt energy in July, a present of assist by his supporters that dwarfed two protests over the earlier two weekends in the identical location towards his actions.

Saied has often cited public backing for his strikes towards the political elite and a system of power-sharing between president and parliament that he says has thwarted the favored will.

Demonstrators waved Tunisian flags and carried placards railing towards Ennahda, the average Islamist social gathering that’s the greatest in parliament and has acted as Saied’s most important antagonist. One chant known as Ennahda chief Rached Ghannouchi, the parliament speaker, an “murderer”.

“We ask the president to dissolve parliament and maintain accountable those that made the folks endure for a decade,” Salem Ajoudi, one of many demonstrators, mentioned.

The president plunged Tunisia right into a constitutional disaster in July by suspending the elected parliament, dismissing the prime minister and assuming govt authority.

Final month he brushed apart a lot of the structure to say he might move laws by decree, casting into doubt Tunisia’s democratic positive factors since its 2011 revolution that triggered the “Arab spring” revolts throughout the Muslim world.


Saied’s intervention adopted years of financial stagnation and political paralysis, aggravated by an impoverishing lockdown final 12 months, a slow-starting vaccination marketing campaign and road protests.

Many Tunisians blame these ills on a corrupt, self-interested political elite, and so they see Saied, an unbiased elected in 2019, as a champion for peculiar folks.

Amongst his supporters, Saied’s intervention is extensively thought to be a long-overdue reset of a democratic experiment that established pursuits pulled off beam.

“Saied is a clear president who has come to revive actual democracy,” mentioned Mongi Abdullah, a trainer from Mahdia who had come to hitch the rally.

Whereas opinion polls present Saied’s strikes have widespread assist, his lengthy delay in declaring a timeline out of the disaster has began to cement opposition to him.

Many of the political elite and the highly effective labour union UGTT say he should begin consulting extra extensively if he plans to amend the structure, as he has indicated he’ll.

Although Sunday’s rally was organized by activists on social media, three smaller events in parliament together with Achaab supported it, saying paralysis within the political system had pressured Saied to intervene.

“Saied ought to appoint a authorities and begin dialogue to reform the system and the electoral legislation, then go to a referendum,” mentioned Mohamed Ammar, an unbiased parliament member attending the demonstration.

Final week Saied appointed a chief minister and urged her to shortly type a authorities, however after his assumption of wider powers she is anticipated to have much less affect than her predecessors within the job.

Tunisian police on Sunday arrested a member of parliament and a tv presenter who’ve been distinguished critics of Saied since his strikes in July, their lawyer mentioned. The police weren’t instantly out there for remark.

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