As Tunisia’s president confirms one-man rule, opposition is growing

CAIRO — For the past two months, President Kais Saied of Tunisia has ridden widely popular support until in the eternity-higher peaks of power, culminating in a recent announcement that he in being would rule the country by decree. But he’s started now met face growing opposition, increasing uncertainty over Tunisia’s worst political crisis in a decade as his economy winds to ruin.

The rebukes come from faithful opponents and former allies, both from political parties and from the media, and even some of the same supporters who cheered in the streets when Mr. Saied Parliament froze, the… prime minister and in taken into custody power on July 25. At least 2,000 protesters on Sunday in the capital, Tunis, called for mr. Saied to end what they called his ‘coup’, the… first big demonstration against his actions in two months.

A joint statement by four political parties, including: one die previously been close to the president, Mr Saied said was… moving in towards dictatorship and shouted on him to put an end to his “exceptional measures”, which he had promised were temporary.

“We believe that the president has lost his legitimacy by violating the constitution,” the country’s president said. powerful general work union, UGTT, said in a statement on Friday, warning Mr Saied against concentrate too much power in his hands without dialogue.

Mr Saied has thrown the democracy of the North African country, the only one to come out the Arab Spring protests Which began in Tunisia and swept through the region a decade ago, in ever deeper doubt.

He said in July that his actions were preliminary reactions for economic and health problems in Tunisia. But the president has only tightened his grip on power since then, ignoring international and domestic pressure to restore parliament.

On Wednesday, mr. Saied’s office announced that he would set up An system including him in being would rule the country by decree, circumventing the constitution. It said he would assume the… power until issue “legislative texts” by decree and select the cabinet, even though the constitution makes the parliament responsible for legislation and gives the prime minister to appoint a cabinet.

if for the Constitution, die Tunisians have adopted in 2014 after years of close consultation and negotiations, the announcement simply said that all constitutional provisions die in were fighting met Mr Said’s… new powers were no longer in force. Which left in place only the preamble of the document and first two chapters, die to go over with The Guiding Principles and Rights and Freedoms of Tunisia.

mr. Saied’s office said he would take charge of drafting political revisions and constitutional amendments with the help of a commission die he would appoint.

Which item in pulled met particular alarm from UGTT, the labor union, die was part of a quartet of groups that was awarded met the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for captain of a national discussion die Tunisia’s fledgling democracy helped survive a political crisis in 2013.

“The Amendment” of the Constitution and the electoral law is a matter die concerns all parts of society,” the unionread’s statement on Friday. It cried on Mr Saied to participate in talk in instead of monopolizing power to amend the constitution.

“There is no solution for the current crisis other than consultation, partnership and dialogue on the base of national principles, the sovereignty and servitude of Tunisia,” union added.

The announcement on Wednesday by the President office also said lawmakers would lose their salaries and benefits in in addition to their immunity from prosecution, die Mr Saied had already cancelled. Tunisian authorities have arrested five members of parliament over the past two months, including critics of the president, though one, Yassine Ayari, was released last week.

Other targets were businessmen and judges, some of to whom are subject? house arrest, trip bans and asset freezes.

Bee first, many Tunisians were overjoyed to hear of The exceptional measures of Mr. Said. Set their hopes for save Tunisia sinking economy, overhaul of the chaotic of the country politics and tackling widespread corruption on a president die seeing them as incorruptible, they rejected warnings of Mr Saied’s political… opponents and critics that his actions hit of dictatorship.

But Mr Saied has… failed lying down out a long-awaited roadmap for turn the country around and sound the alarm by: declining engage with citizen groups of other politicians to determine way forward.

After two months without results, dissatisfaction – of at least impatience – with Mr. Saied’s actions are starting to fester. AN small meeting of protesters turned around out show against him earlier this month; thousands more collected on Sunday in Tunis.

“Emperor Kais, first of his line,” wrote Sarra Grira, a Tunisian journalist on facebook soon after the announcement that mr. Saied would be given greater powers.

But the real test of The popularity of Mr. Said will be of he can tackle the economic problems misery that Tunisia in stirred up in the first place. wrestling with high unemployment, declining standard of living and widespread poverty die thousands floats of Tunisians to risk migrate over the Mediterranean to Europe every year, the country has no clear outlook for improvement.

mr. Saied has interrupted the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a rescue operation without its economic plans, although it has gained popularity among some Tunisians with propose to force rich business people who have been accused of corruption to finance development projects in poorer regions.

“The wall which Kais storms towards and could splash against is the economy’ said Monica Marks, a… professor of Middle East politics at New York University Abu Dhabi who studies Tunisia. “The expectations are so high, and he has everything to do with That she added.

“Inevitably there will be a huge gap between populist expectations, that is… higher than ever now, and the reality of what Kais can actually deliver.”

Massinissa Benlakehal contributed from Tunis.

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