Breaking News
Black Friday SALE: Up to 54% off InvestingPro! Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Thousands rally for Tunisian president urging change to political system

WorldOct 03, 2021 12:27PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. Supporters of Tunisian President Kais Saied rally in support of his seizure of power and suspension of parliament, in Tunis, Tunisia, October 3, 2021. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi 2/2

By Tarek Amara

TUNIS (Reuters) -Thousands of supporters of Tunisian President Kais Saied rallied in the capital and other cities on Sunday to back his suspension of parliament and promises to change the political system, acts his critics call a coup.

The demonstration of at least 8,000 people in central Tunis was by far the biggest since Saied seized executive power in July - a show of support by his supporters that dwarfed two protests over the previous two weekends against his actions.

Thousands of other Saied supporters rallied in Sfax, witnesses and local media said, while others rallied in Sidi Bouzid, Gafsa and Monastir.

Opposition to his moves has also grown in recent weeks as most of the political establishment, the powerful labour union and foreign donors have come out against his suspension of parts of the constitution.

Saied has frequently cited public backing for his moves against the political elite and a system of power-sharing between president and parliament that he says has thwarted the popular will.

Demonstrators waved Tunisian flags and carried placards railing against Ennahda, the moderate Islamist party that is the biggest in parliament and has acted as Saied's main antagonist.

One chant called Ennahda leader and parliament speaker Rached Ghannouchi, who has urged the suspended chamber to restart its work, an "assassin".

"We demand that Saied dissolve Ennahda and the political parties involved in corruption," Noura Bensalah, one of the demonstrators, said.

The president plunged Tunisia into a constitutional crisis in July by suspending the elected parliament, dismissing the prime minister and assuming executive authority.

Last month he brushed aside much of the constitution to say he could pass legislation by decree, casting into doubt Tunisia's democratic gains since its 2011 revolution that triggered the "Arab spring" revolts across the Muslim world.

'REAL DEMOCRACY'

Saied's intervention followed years of economic stagnation and political paralysis, aggravated by an impoverishing lockdown last year, a slow-starting vaccination campaign and street protests.

Many Tunisians blame those ills on a corrupt, self-interested political elite, and they see Saied, an independent elected in 2019, as a champion for ordinary people.

Among his supporters, Saied's intervention is widely regarded as a long-overdue reset of a democratic experiment that established interests pulled off course.

"Saied is a clean president who has come to restore real democracy," said Mongi Abdullah, a teacher from Mahdia who had come to join the rally.

While opinion polls show Saied's moves have widespread support, his long delay in declaring a timeline out of the crisis has started to cement opposition to him.

Most of the political elite and the powerful labour union UGTT say he must start consulting more widely if he plans to amend the constitution, as he has indicated he will.

Though Sunday's rally was arranged by activists on social media, three smaller parties in parliament including Achaab supported it, saying paralysis in the political system had forced Saied to intervene.

"Saied should appoint a government and start dialogue to reform the system and the electoral law, then go to a referendum," said Mohamed Ammar, an independent parliament member attending the demonstration.

Last week Saied appointed a prime minister and urged her to quickly form a government, but after his assumption of wider powers she is expected to have less influence than her predecessors in the job.

Tunisian police on Sunday arrested a member of parliament and a television presenter who have been prominent critics of Saied since his moves in July, their lawyer said. The police were not immediately available for comment.

Thousands rally for Tunisian president urging change to political system
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email