Tunisia | 19 September 2021

Tunisia: Necessary intervention or presidential coup?

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According to BBC News reporting on 26 July 2021, President Kais Saied sacked senior members of the cabinet and suspended parliament in what opposition voices claim was a presidential coup. This unprecedented move took place after protests against the government"s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the general economic turmoil turned violent with supporters of President Saied clashing with opponents. World Watch Research analyst Michael Bosch comments: "President Saied claims that this move was only temporally to restore order. However, several key members of parliament, mainly from Islamist parties, have since been arrested or charged (Al-Monitor, 10 August 2021) and emergency measures have been extended indefinitely until further notice. The majority of Tunisia"s citizens seem either to be in support of the president or apathetic to the situation. But who can blame them? After 11 governments in 10 years, cronyism and a failing economy, many have lost all confidence in the political class, especially the ruling Islamist Ennahda party. Saied, who came to power in a presidential election in 2019 which was regarded as being free and fair, is viewed by many as an outsider with clean hands. Still, it is clear that the president now urgently needs to present a roadmap to solve the crisis and restore democracy: If not for the sake of Tunisia"s young democracy, then at least to avoid further damage to Tunisia"s struggling economy" (Al-Monitor, 3 September 2021).


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