Thursday, July 25, 2024
HomeBusinessTunisian president’s feud with party elites drove him to seize reins of...

Tunisian president’s feud with party elites drove him to seize reins of power By Reuters

Date:

Related stories

Why It’s Important for Teachers to Teach Social and Emotional Skills

Academic knowledge alone is not enough to prepare students...

How Religion Supports and Shields Children’s Mental Health

In the UK today, many parents and foster carers...

The Key Benefits of Ergonomic Loupes in Dentistry and Surgery

In the demanding fields of dentistry and surgery, precision...

Industry-Specific Safety Glasses: Choosing the Right Pair for Your Job

Workplace safety is a paramount concern across various industries....

10 Reasons You Should Try To Be More Likeable

Being likeable has a deep impact on both personal...

[ad_1]

3/3
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, head of the moderate Islamist Ennahda, speaks to supporters during a rally in opposition to President Kais Saied, in Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2021. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi/File Photo

2/3

By Tarek Amara and Angus McDowall

TUNIS (Reuters) – As he was driven to an urgently scheduled national security meeting with the president, Tunisian Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi was unable to reach the phones of senior officers to discuss the coming conversation.

Only when he arrived at the presidential palace in Carthage did Mechichi learn the truth: President Kais Saied was invoking emergency powers to dismiss him, freeze parliament and claim executive authority. The officers he had tried to reach were already there.

His moves, labelled a coup by opponents, have left Tunisians and foreign states wondering about the future of the country whose 2011 revolution inspired the Arab Spring and then followed a democratic path unmatched by its peers.

“This is the first time in a long time that I don’t see things moving in a positive direction,” said Safwan al-Misri of Columbia University and the author of a book on Tunisia.

Interviews with Tunisian officials and others close to major players in the crisis show how feuding over the political system culminated in Saied’s intervention.

The crisis was set in train by a 2019 election in which voters rejected the establishment by choosing Saied, an anti-corruption independent, and returning a deeply fragmented parliament.

Saied feuded with Mechichi and Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi. As their quarrel encompassed control of the security forces – the moment, one political source said, that the president realised he had to act.

See also  Judge sanctions Sidney Powell, other pro-Trump lawyers who claimed voter fraud By Reuters

“Saied was sure the army would stand with him,” said a source close to the president.

Saied has provided no clear roadmap but he is widely expected to enshrine a presidential system in a new constitution, ending years of tussling between rival branches of state.

However, except for taking over security institutions and other key ministries, Saied did not appear well prepared, said political scientist Mohammed Dhia-Hammami.

“He is a strongman in a weak position,” he said.

FEUD

As the 2019 election approached after years of economic stagnation, established players such as Ghannouchi’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party were unpopular.

The unstable government that finally emerged from it collapsed within months and Saied nominated Mechichi as premier. They quickly fell out over Mechichi’s choice of coalition partners.

“The president told us he hated treachery. And treachery had come from those closest to him,” a senior politician close to Saied said.

Mechichi did not respond to efforts by Reuters to contact him by phone and text message.

In January, after a dispute over a reshuffle, Mechichi said he would serve as interior minister – putting himself at the centre of the security apparatus. It meant reconciliation with the president was impossible, two sources close to Saied said, and the pair did not meet for two months.

In April, Saied said Interior Ministry forces belonged under his authority. Mechichi responded by appointing an Ennahda ally to head intelligence.

At a meeting with two political parties, Saied said it showed “Mechichi was there only to serve the interests of his allies”, one of those present said.

See also  Fed hikes rates by half point, starts balance sheet reduction June 1 By Reuters

“It seems that Saied then decided to remove Mechichi and bring down his government,” the source said.

PROTESTS

Meanwhile the coronavirus pandemic was worsening and the government response faltered. Both Mechichi and Ghannouchi, who is 80, fell sick.

On Sunday July 25, Ghannouchi’s first day at work after two weeks of illness, protests in several cities involved attacks on Ennahda offices – violence Saied later cited in declaring emergency powers.

The president called Ghannouchi at about 5 p.m., a source close to the Ennahda leader said. The constitution required consultation with the parliament speaker and prime minister.

Saied said he did this. But Ennahda sources said he merely told Ghannouchi he would roll over a state of emergency in place since 2015.

Mechichi was at his office. He had met Saied the previous day to discuss the pandemic and was surprised to receive a call at 7 p.m. summoning him to the palace. “He went off in a hurry without knowing any details,” said an aide.

Told he had been dismissed, Mechichi could only accept, the source close to him said, and after the announcement he was driven home by a security detail.

Saied’s announcement surprised Ghannouchi too. Reached by Reuters shortly afterwards, he denounced it as a coup.

Ghannouchi had already spoken with Mechichi about the protests. After Saied’s declaration, he tried to call him again but could not reach him until 11 p.m.

He asked Mechichi if he still regarded himself as prime minister and asked him to publicly reject Saied’s moves, but the ousted premier gave no clear response, an Ennahda source said.

See also  Oil prices jump to multiyear highs after OPEC+ talks yield no production deal

Already, the streets were filling with the president’s supporters, jubilant that he seemed to be cracking down on systemic disarray and stagnation.

Over the next hours, Saied assigned an ally to supervise the interior ministry while the army surrounded the Tunis parliament, television station and the Government Office.

Saied had outmanoeuvred his opponents.



[ad_2]

Source link

Bellie Brown
Bellie Brownhttps://businesstimes.org
Hi my lovely readers, I am Bellie brown editor and writer of Businesstimes.org. I write blogs on various niches such as business, technology, lifestyle., health, entertainment, etc as well as manage the daily reports of the website. I am very addicted to my work which makes me keen on reading and writing on the very latest and trending topics. One can check my more writings by visiting Cleartips.net

Latest stories