Tunisian political parties launch movement against president

Four Tunisian parties unite against President Saied's power grab, saying time of criticism 'is over'
2 min read
28 September, 2021
The four Tunisian political parties, among which is the Democratic Current, pledged to do whatever is required in a push to restore the constitution.
The four parties came together following President Saied's revelation he would rule by decree [AFP/Getty]

Four Tunisian political parties revealed on Tuesday they will work together to oppose moves made by President Kais Saied, who has been accused by many of conducting a "coup".

The parties involved are the Democratic Current, the Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties, the Republican Party, and Afek Tounes (Horizons of Tunisia).

They urged the head of state, who is an ex-constitutional lawyer, to adhere to the constitution after a power grab, reported The New Arab's Arabic sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The new alliance comes after Saied said last Wednesday that he would ignore the nation's constitution - save its preamble and two opening chapters - and rule by decree.

Saied issued Decree 117 which has the effect of "implicitly abrogating [repealing] the constitutional order", according to a collective message from groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International's Tunisia division on Monday, who added that this "is a first step towards authoritarianism".

The Tunisian parties united on opposing Saied's power grab told a press conference they will do whatever is required to restore the constitution and that the time for just criticism of the president is over.

Democratic Current Secretary General Ghazi Chaouachi said the four parties had varied backgrounds in government and as opposition factions.

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The parties said they will welcome any group joining them.

Republican Party Secretary General Issam Chebbi claimed that although reforms were widely called for before 25 July - when the president effectively took complete control of the country - Saied twisted in his power grab.

He argued Decree 117 breaches the constitution and the president must take it back and restore the Tunisian constitution.

Speaking with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, he indicated that "all peaceful means are available and public opinion will be mobilised to hold onto the gains of the revolution".

Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties leader Khalil Zaouia, explained that the four factions involved see a third option, outside of both Saied's stance and the widely criticised governing situation before 25 July.

The constitutional crisis in Tunisia comes a decade after the country shook off the shackles of its former dictator, Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, and inspired the Arab Spring revolutions.