Agencies – Writings:
When democracy in “Tunisia” was subjected to a crisis years ago, the civil society forces intervened to prevent the collapse of the democratic experiment in the country, but today it seems that this power is incapable or unwilling to democratize against the to protect president’s invasion; “Kais Saied”.
In 2015, when Tunisia plunged into a political crisis – its young democracy crumbled amid political stalemate, assassinations and mass unrest – it sent the country’s traditional guardians to find a way forward, reports The New York Times.
A coalition of unions, lawyers and human rights activists intervened to preserve constitutional order and won the Nobel Peace Prize; The 2015 Nobel Committee credited the so-called “National Dialogue Quartet” with the protection of the profits of the 2011 “Jasmine Revolution”, which overthrew the country’s old dictator and caused “Arab Spring” uprisings across the Middle East.
The Quartet Committee for National Dialogue consisted of; Of four organizations: “The Tunisian General Labor Union, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Crafts and Crafts, the Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights, and the Tunisian Bar Association.”
But this time the forces of civil society appear; The Tunisian General Labor Union in particular is part of the problem, not the solution.
The story of democracy in “Tunisia” from hope to failure!
For a decade, “Tunisia” was the success story that many in the world wanted. While other Arab revolutions faded into civil wars, coups or repression, democracy survived in Tunisia, the Arab country of 12 million people; And the reality in “North Africa” on the shores of the Mediterranean – from the political crisis in: 2013-2014 and continued to progress.
But the new constitution and many free and fair elections have failed to provide the bread, work and dignity that Tunisians have sung, and the country is now heading for disaster, with its economy overwhelmed by mismanagement, the pandemic and the Russian attack on “Ukraine”. “
Civil society forces did not confront Said’s coup.
On July 25, he fired the president; Qais Said, his prime minister, has suspended parliament, and since then Said has consolidated a one-man government. It abolished the constitution, the legislature, the independence of the judiciary and the electoral system in Tunisia. However, those groups that led the country out of the last major political crisis did nothing more than issue some silent warning notes.
Monica Marks said; Professor of Middle Eastern Politics at New York University; In “Abu Dhabi”, which specializes in Tunisian affairs: “In July, many Tunisians said: Dictatorship is not possible here, civil society is very essential.” “But the decline of democracy happened very quickly,” she added.
“It is not that democracy in Tunisia is threatened,” she said. She was hit in the head. Why are they not doing anything now? ”
Part of the answer lies in the toxic reputation that the country’s young democracy has gained. Among many Tunisians – not only those who regarded their lives as nothing better than they were before the revolution, but also activists, journalists and other members of civil society who flourished after the uprising.
MPs and political parties became; which provided few answers to the problems of “Tunisia”; They are considered corrupt and ineffective, like the Islamic party Ennahda, the Islamic party that dominated the Legislative Council in the post-revolutionary era. The judges, although accepting independence, seemed obligated to the politicians they nominated.
Businessmen loyal to “Ben Ali” control the media and the economy.
The media, though free, was mostly owned by regime-linked businessmen; Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the evicted dictator in 2011.
While a handful of oligarchs continued to control much of the economy, corruption and bureaucracy hampered the livelihoods of other Tunisians.
After Saeed took power; On July 25, spontaneous festivities lit up the capital; “Tunisia”, in rich suburbs as well as poor neighborhoods. Tunisians from many backgrounds saw Said as a potential savior.
Activists tried to collaborate with “Qais Saeed”.
Rights activists have tried to work with the president in the reforms. Lawyers saw him as a leader who had the courage to get the judiciary right. Businessmen believe he has the political capital to restructure the economy.
But by September 22 last year, when Said began to rule at the behest of himself, that hope quickly evaporated.
In his campaign to reform Tunisia’s political system, Said dismantled key post-revolutionary institutions. after the elected Parliament rejected his action in a virtual session; Last month, April, he simply solved it.
Ahead of the July referendum, when Saied will try to get approval to rewrite the 2014 constitution and consolidate his presidency, he announced last month; He will replace most of the members of the Independent Electoral Authority and appoint the new ones himself.
this week; He threatened to completely dissolve political parties, which provoked some of the fiercest criticism; So far by civic oversight bodies and the opposition.
The government is unable to pay salaries or provide bread.
In the midst of all this political unrest, the government is increasingly unable to pay public sector employees. Negotiations came to a halt over a lifeline of the International Monetary Fund, which would be little more than a temporary halt. Shortages of basic foods such as “flour”, a shortage exacerbated by the war in Ukraine – a country that supplies Tunisia with so much “wheat” – have pushed prices up further than many citizens can afford.
Prices have risen in bakeries, breads are getting smaller, and there are daily queues for them. The government recently announced that it will increase fuel prices for the third time this year.
Opinion polls show the president is losing support, even though he remains by far the most trusted leader in Tunisia. This winter was the first in years that mass protests did not disrupt the country.
Tunisians lost the only profit from the revolution.
Tunisians swing between what they see as two evils. Tunisians generally point to only one advantage of the revolution: freedom of expression. But even that is now threatened.
The country is now far from the previous years of dictatorship, when people were afraid to even talk to friends about politics; When a government office dictates to journalists what to write.
But after what “Qais Saeed” did; Opposition voices have almost disappeared from state television. “Fahem Boukadous,” he said; Executive Director of the Syndicate of Journalists, Tunisian journalists practice self-censorship; Said attacked the news media in his speeches.
The government increasingly turned to military courts to prosecute lawmakers and others for criticizing the president, which led to a doubling of the number of prosecutions; Since July 25, compared to the entire previous decade.
Judges also fall under the influence of the presidency, as Said replaces members of the previously independent Judicial Review Board; He appoints in their place persons whom he himself appoints.
Will the General Labor Union break the current stalemate?
Many Tunisians said they expected the deadlock to be broken by the Tunisian General Labor Union, the general trade union that helped Tunisia gain independence from France; In 1956 he chaired the National Dialogue Committee; Laureate of the “Nobel Prize”, the dialogue that maintained constitutional order during the political crisis: 2013-2014.
With more than a million members, the union can paralyze the country on its own through strikes.
But analysts and activists say public opinion has prevented the Tunisian Labor Union and other leading groups in civil society from opposing Said more forcefully.
Reluctant to confront a popular president, the union initially hoped to influence its negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, which would likely require Tunisia to freeze public wages and take other painful measures for union members.
Although the union has become stricter with the president, he maintains what he called his chief economist; “Sami Al-Awadi”: “Cash Support Position”.
Al-Awadi said; The union decided to arrest Mr. Said to pay; On the way to talks to resolve the political crisis. But the dialogue the union has in mind seems far from comprehensive; of 2013, as “Al-Awadi” says; Ennahda should be excluded, reflecting a general refrain that the Islamic Party often holds responsible for the destruction of the economy through corruption and mismanagement, as Ennahda has not led most of the governments that have ruled the country since the “Tunisian Revolution” not.
Other opposition leaders say ignoring the country’s largest political party will deprive Tunisia’s large Islamic audience.
Ahmed Najib Chebbi, a secular opposition leader, wants to build an anti-Said coalition.
“I try common ground with[Ennahda]”We must look forward, not backward.”
In the end, he said, Tunisians would probably have to accept Ennahda’s participation in any kind of political solution.
He predicted that if economic disasters threatened, “people would not have much choice.”