The North African country of Tunisia is seemingly facing a foray into its constitutional and democratic rights. Well, that is according to many Tunisians.
On Sunday, over a thousand protesters stormed the streets in a civil action against President Kais Saied. This was done to oppose the president’s one-man rule after he dissolved parliament last month. The protestations were championed and organized by a movement named “Citizens Against the Coup” backed by the Islamic-inspired Ennadha Party – a party that has dominated Tunisia’s political landscape.
Jawhar Ben Mbarek, Head of the “Citizens against the coup” movement stated “It’s a political crisis that is growing, taking root, and weighing heavily on the daily life of people. The situation in the country is getting worse, we are suffering more and more that’s what eight months of Kais Saied’s rule created.”
President Kais Saied became president in 2019. However, he took an unprecedented in July last year by dismissing his prime minister and suspending the activities of the parliament. He went on to dissolve the well last month after some MPs held an online session to revoke his decrees.
Saied’s opponents have organized several demonstrations to publicly denounce his policies in recent months.
Many parliamentarians participated in the protest on Sunday amidst the presence of anti-riot police. The atmosphere was clouded with chants of “The people want to overthrow the coup.”
Following the online session, the anti-terrorism police summoned the main opposition figure Rached Ghannouchi and other lawmakers for questioning. A move that has fueled intense criticisms. Ghannouchi is the parliamentary speaker and head of the Islamist ennahda party.
Delegates from the European Parliament will visit Tunisia on Monday to urge the return of democratic principles enshrined after the 2011 revolution that ended the autocratic rule of late President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Saied took control of executive authority last year and subsequently ruled by decree. An action which his opponents label a coup.
He has previously said he would form a committee to rewrite the country’s constitution, call for a referendum in July and then hold parliamentary elections in December.
The country’s two main parties Ennahda and Free Constitutional are set counter his plans.