President of Tunisia suspends parliament further and consolidates: Regional issues

President of Tunisia suspends parliament further and consolidatesRegional issues

Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

President Kais Saied of Tunisia is suspending parliament further while consolidating his position and aims. Last month, he fired Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi citing national security. Therefore, in this interim period, Saied intends to shore up Tunisia from recent failures.

Political corruption, inertia, and misgovernance have plagued Tunisia in recent years. Indeed, secular political tensions, Islamist parties, a disenfranchised younger generation yearning for hope, traditionalists, poverty, and other factors blight Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morroco, and Tunisia in North Africa. 

Libya and the Sinai (Egypt) are especially blighted by terrorism. Tunisia also isn’t immune and the same applies to Algeria and Morocco. Yet Libya faces the most daunting task concerning competing political forces and Islamism. Meanwhile, Coptic Christians in Egypt and the Amazighs (Berbers) in several nations throughout North Africa continue to face discrimination, despite both groups being indigenous. For Coptic Christians, this is aimed at the remnants of the Muslim Brotherhood, social discrimination, legal issues, and other areas rather than directed at the current leader of Egypt. 

Turning back to Tunisia. Reuters reports, “Saied has said his intervention was needed to save the country from collapse. He appears to have widespread popular support in Tunisia, where years of misgovernance, corruption and political paralysis have been aggravated by a deadly surge in COVID-19 cases.”

Saied is consolidating his position by putting blocks on several political officials and utilizing house arrest. Opponents of Saied are claiming that his political motives are anti-democratic and threaten the events of 2011. 

Last month, he stated, he took “the necessary decisions to save Tunisia, the state and the Tunisian people.”

While warning, if anyone “fires a single bullet, our forces will respond with a rain of bullets.”

Since then, Saied is consolidating his position while also seeking to win the hearts and minds of the majority of Tunisians. 

If Saied focuses on stabilizing the political and social situation by listening to the concerns of the majority and the influential Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), then maybe change is in the offing.

However, the delicate situation of politics in Tunisia – and throughout North Africa – means that increasing power concentration is always a concern. 

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