October 22, 2021

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Profile: Kais Saied, Tunisia’s president accused of ‘coup’ | Politics News

President accused of attack on Tunisian democracy immediately after sacking the country’s primary minister and suspending parliament.

Tunisia’s president described his election victory in 2019 as “like a new revolution” – and on Sunday night time he brought large crowds of supporters onto the streets by sacking the federal government and freezing parliament in a move his foes referred to as a ‘coup’.

Kais Saied, a 63-year-previous independent politician and former constitutional attorney with an uncomfortable community manner and a choice for an extremely-formal talking style of classical Arabic, is now at the undisputed centre of Tunisian politics.

Approximately two a long time after his election and a individual vote that made a deeply divided parliament, he has sidelined the primary minister and parliament speaker with a move found by critics as an unconstitutional electricity get.

On the other hand, as tens of 1000’s of men and women flooded the streets of principal towns to rejoice, Saied appeared to be riding a wave of well-known anger towards a political elite that has for decades failed to supply the promised fruits of democracy.

Though the parliament speaker Rached Ghannouchi has been tainted with the messy compromises of 10 yrs of democratic politics considering the fact that Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, Saied entered the scene in 2019 as a comparative newcomer.

Presenting himself in his marketing campaign as a civilian having on a corrupt procedure, he fought the election with no investing revenue and with a bare-bones staff of advisers and volunteers – profitable the backing of leftists, Islamists and youth alike.

His supporters mentioned he expended so tiny on the election that it price only the selling price of the espresso and cigarettes he eaten meeting Tunisians and introduced him as a paragon of own integrity.

People celebrated in the avenue right after Tunisian President Kais Saied declared the dissolution of parliament and Primary Minister Hichem Mechichi’s govt [Fethi Belaid/AFP]

After elected, he appeared for a when shackled by a constitution that provides the president direct electrical power over only the navy and overseas affairs even though each day administration is remaining to a federal government that is a lot more answerable to parliament.

Saied has produced no key of his motivation for a new structure that puts the president at centre phase – prompting critics to accuse him of seeking to emulate Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in stripping his foes of electricity.


Power wrestle

As president, Saied rapidly feuded with the two key ministers who inevitably emerged from the advanced method of coalition-developing – to start with Elyes Fakhfakh and then Hicham Mechichi.

However, the most important dispute has been with the reasonable religiously inclined Ennahdha occasion and its veteran chief Ghannouchi, a former political prisoner and exile who returned to Tunisia in 2011.

In excess of the earlier 12 months, Saied and Mechichi, backed by Ghannouchi, have squabbled in excess of cabinet reshuffles and regulate around the stability forces, complicating endeavours to manage the pandemic and tackle a looming fiscal crisis.

As protests erupted in January, even so, it was the governing administration and the previous get-togethers of parliament who confronted the public’s wrath – a wave of anger that eventually broke final week as COVID-19 instances spiked.

A failed hard work to set up walk-in vaccination centres led Saied to announce final week that the army would choose around the pandemic reaction – a go noticed by his critics as the newest move in his electrical power wrestle with the governing administration.

It set the stage for his announcement on Sunday following protests targeting Ennahdha in metropolitan areas about the country.

Persons came out on the streets to celebrate the government’s elimination but lots of demonstrators also want social and economic reform [Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters]

In the course of the 2011 revolution, his college students and buddies said, he utilised to walk the narrow streets of Tunis’ outdated town and the grand colonial boulevards downtown late at night, discussing politics with his learners.

Saied was a person of the authorized advisers who assisted draft Tunisia’s 2014 democratic structure, however he shortly spoke out against components of the doc.

Now, some of the key political inheritors of Tunisia’s revolution are casting him as its executioner – expressing his dismissal of authorities and freezing of parliament are an attack on democracy.