Tunisia Faces Turmoil Threatening Its Young Democracy
Tunisia ignited the “Arab Spring” a decade ago when public outcries against its government erupted and ended the regime of its autocratic leader. The world applauded the bold effort to give birth to a new democratic government. However, the result has been disappointing. Recent actions by President Kais Saied are suspect. His actions of ousting the government and suspending parliament have been condemned as a coup by the country’s main parties as well as the Islamists. Saied claims he acted to save the country from corruption and plots to sow civil strife. Saied is using the Army to carry out his agenda. He maintains that his actions are constitutional, yet nations around the world are urging him to stick to democratic principles. Tunisians had high hopes after the 2011 coup but have been sorely disappointed by the years of economic malaise and political paralysis.
The International community is urging calm and restoration of democratic policies. Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani appealed to all parties to adopt a path of dialogue, stressing ‘the importance of fixing foundations of the state of institutions and establishing the rule of law in Tunisia.” Neighboring Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have said they support measures to achieve stability. Tunisia was once a French protectorate, and the French government is urging the young democracy to quickly name a new prime minister and cabinet to replace the ones terminated by Saied. The U.S. too has joined in the outcries against Saied’s actions. Even freedom of the press is at stake as Tunisian police raided the Al Jazeera news bureau in Tunis. The U.S. State Department urged “scrupulous respect for freedom of expression and other civil rights.”
- Tunisia opens corruption probes of leading Islamist party
- Qatar emir appeals to all parties in Tunisia political crisis to pursue dialogue
- Tunisia’s Saied moves on economy and COVID-19 after dismissing govt
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