The electoral calendar of the Tunisian president criticized by his opponents but welcomed by Washington

Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed has drawn a deluge of criticism after his decision to extend the freeze on Parliament for one year, announced on Monday, December 13. His opponents denounced a new authoritarian drift three days before the 11e anniversary of the revolt that overthrew the dictatorship.

Four and a half months after suspending on July 25 the Parliament dominated by the Islamist-inspired party Ennahda, his pet peeve, Mr. Saïed proceeded on Monday to a dissolution which does not speak his name of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People in extending its freeze until the new legislative election, the date of which it has set for December 17, 2022.

The Head of State also announced in his speech a referendum for July 25, 2022 on amendments to the Constitution, which he wants more presidential, and the electoral law which will govern the legislative elections.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers In Tunisia, President Saïed announces a constitutional referendum for the summer of 2022

If Mr. Saïed, who prides himself on a strong support within a public opinion exasperated by blockages and corruption, conceives the calendar unveiled on Monday as a roadmap to turn the page on the crisis, his opponents accuse of seeking to extend the period of full powers that he arrogated to himself. “His speech can be summed up as follows: I am the State, I am the president, I am the government, I am justice, I am the Electoral Commission, I am the people, I am the infallible prophet”, reacted on his Facebook page the opposition MP Hichem Ajbouni.

Mr. Saïed said that the amendments he intends to submit to referendum would be the synthesis of proposals developed in favor of “Popular consultations” to be carried out from 1is January on dedicated electronic platforms.

For the deputy Samir Dilou, ex-member of Ennahda, “Saïed will launch an electronic referendum likely to make Tunisia a laughing stock”. His speech “Reflects the state of denial in which he lives and his refusal to listen to anyone”, he added in a daily interview Assabah.

“No blank check”

President Kaïs Saïed “Seems determined to carry out his political project, ignoring pressure at home and abroad”analyst Slaheddine Jourchi told AFP: “He is trying to pull the rug out from under his opponents’ feet by announcing a calendar with specific dates. “

His speech took place a few days before the demonstrations planned by his opponents, but also his supporters, on December 17, the day of celebration of the 11e anniversary of the revolt which ousted Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali from power and kicked off the Arab Spring. “The big problem is that he will continue to rule by decree. His political conflict with his opponents will worsen “, according to Mr. Jourchi.

Read also Tunisia: President extends freeze of Parliament, announces referendum and legislative elections

The presidential speech drew mixed reactions in the streets. “It’s important to put things on the constitutional and legal track and tie them to a timetable. But when it comes to current issues like employment, poverty, marginalization and the prosecution of those who have committed crimes against the country, his speech is still a long way off ”Nizar Ben Ahmida, a 37-year-old professor, told AFP. “I have retained the fact that there will be elections on December 17, 2022. I think that is too far. He is saving time ”, estimated another Tunisian, Nidhal, 35.

The head of the powerful Tunisian trade union center UGTT, Noureddine Taboubi, told the press that Mr. Saïed’s speech was “Devoid of vision for economic and social orientations”. And to add: “We supported his July 25 announcements, but we did not give him a blank check”.

The United States on the other hand welcomed, on Tuesday, the announcement of Tunisian President Kais Saied of a new legislative election for December 2022. “We welcome President Saïed’s announcement of a timetable providing for a path to political reform and parliamentary elections”State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement: “We hope for a reform process that will be transparent and inclusive of the diversity of political voices and civil society. “

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The World with AFP

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The electoral calendar of the Tunisian president criticized by his opponents but welcomed by Washington