October 26, 2021

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Tunisian president is a political outsider accused of a coup

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied waves as he is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron (not pictured) in advance of a assembly at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 22, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

TUNIS, July 26 (Reuters) – Tunisia’s president described his election victory in 2019 as ‘like a new revolution’ – and on Sunday evening he brought huge crowds of supporters onto the streets by sacking the government and freezing parliament in a go his foes called a coup.

Kais Saied, a 63-yr-outdated political unbiased and previous constitutional lawyer with an uncomfortable public way and a choice for an ultra official speaking model of classical Arabic, is now at the undisputed centre of Tunisian politics.

Practically two many years right after his election and a different vote that made a deeply divided parliament, he has sidelined equally the key minister and parliament speaker with a move found by critics as an unconstitutional ability get.

Having said that, as tens of hundreds of men and women flooded the streets of main metropolitan areas to celebrate, Saied appeared to be driving a wave of common anger in opposition to a political elite that has for many years unsuccessful to produce the promised fruits of democracy.

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

Presenting himself in his marketing campaign as an normal male using on a corrupt process, he fought the election without investing dollars and with a bare-bones group of advisers and volunteers – successful the backing of leftists, Islamists and youths alike.

His supporters said he used so very little on the election that it price tag only the price tag of the coffee and cigarettes he eaten meeting Tunisians and presented him as a paragon of particular integrity.

When elected, he appeared for a whilst shackled by a constitution that presents the president immediate electrical power above only the military services and international affairs though daily administration is still left to a governing administration that is much more answerable to parliament.

Saied has produced no key of his wish for a new constitution that places the president at centre stage – prompting critics to accuse him of wanting to emulate Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in stripping his foes of power.

Ability Wrestle

As president, Saied swiftly feuded with the two prime ministers who sooner or later emerged from the complex process of coalition building – 1st Elyes Fakhfakh and then Hichem Mechichi.

Even so, the major dispute has been with the average Islamist Ennahda social gathering and its veteran chief Ghannouchi, a previous political prisoner and exile who returned to Tunisia in 2011.

Over the previous yr, Saied and Mechichi, backed by Ghannouchi, have squabbled more than Cabinet reshuffles and control around the security forces, complicating efforts to manage the pandemic and deal with a looming fiscal crisis.

As protests erupted in January, however, it was the federal government and the outdated get-togethers of parliament who confronted the public’s wrath – a wave of anger that finally broke past week as COVID-19 cases spiked.

A unsuccessful effort to set up walk-in vaccination centres led Saied to announce very last 7 days that the military would get around the pandemic reaction – a shift noticed by his critics as the most current move in his electricity struggle with the government.

It set the stage for his announcement on Sunday next protests targeting Ennahda in cities close to the nation.

Through the 2011 revolution, his college students and mates explained, he made use of to stroll the slim streets of Tunis’ previous town and the grand colonial boulevards downtown late at evening, discussing politics with his students.

Saied was just one of the lawful advisers who aided draft Tunisia’s 2014 democratic structure, however he before long spoke out versus factors of the document.

Now, some of the principal political inheritors of Tunisia’s revolution are casting him as its executioner – saying his dismissal of government and freezing of parliament are an assault on democracy.

Reporting by Angus McDowall editing by Jonathan Oatis

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