In a move that had been expected for months, Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed the prime minister and froze parliament on July 25, 2021, after declaring a "state of imminent danger" as stipulated in the new Tunisian constitution (2014). President Saied’s decisions came in the wake of widespread popular protests in the country on Republic Day and in the midst of an unprecedented wave of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
A severe political crisis has erupted in Tunisia due to the statements of the President of the Republic Kais Saied rejecting the national reform initiative put forward by the Tunisian Labour Union, calling for a return to the 1959 Constitution, which enshrines a presidential system in which the President of the Republic enjoys strong powers, unlike the current constitution which was issued in 2014. This crisis has erupted in a social context prone to explosion, and has been reflected in the conflict of positions, attitudes and strategies that characterises the relationship between the Tunisian political components.
On September 8, 2021, the Moroccan legislative elections will be held to elect the occupants of 395 seats in the House of Representatives through a direct secret ballot. These elections are expected to result in a new government with a busy agenda. It will have to deal with many complex issues, domestic and regional. The significant adverse repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic on Morocco’s public health and the economy would be the biggest challenge. The country’s recurring spats with neighboring countries, Algeria and Spain, have also cast a shadow over the elections.
On the other hand, regional instability experienced by the Maghreb countries imposes a problematic reality on Morocco. The future of the political process seems ambiguous in Libya and Tunisia. Furthermore, successive changes in the leadership of Algeria’s military and security establishments and the persistent discontent among large segments of the Algerian youth suggest that the domestic situation there is still far from stable.
Tunisian President Kais Saied issued a presidential order extending the exceptional measures to suspend the Assembly of the Representatives (the Parliament) until further notice and lifted the parliamentary immunity of all its members. This was an extension of the decision Saied made on July 25, 2021, freezing the legislative authority for 30 days.
Saied’s latest move ended the period of anticipation that the country and political forces were experiencing. It also triggered speculation over his next steps and those of his opponents in the Islamist Ennahda (Renaissance) Movement party, which has witnessed organizational changes coinciding with the political transformation taking place in the country.
This paper examines President Saied’s motives for extending the duration of the exceptional measures and the positions of the political forces. It also sheds light on the transformations experienced by the Ennahda Movement, the President’s strongest opponent, and anticipates the future paths of the political crisis in Tunisia.
A lot of controversy has been raised about a letter that was sent by some retired Tunisian officers to Tunisian President Kais Saied on 28 May 2021, between those who considered it a manifestation of the military establishment’s desire to intervene in the stifling political crisis in the country, and those who considered it one of the tactics of the Ennahda (Renaissance) Movement in the context of managing the crisis of its relationship with the President of the Republic and its break with the active political and civil actors.
The differences that began more than a year ago between Tunisian President Kais Saied and the Islamic Ennahda (Renaissance) Movement – which has the parliamentary majority – escalated, to turn into an open struggle between the two sides and a media clash with statements, in the light of a multidimensional crisis that the country is going through at all political and economic levels, which was deepened by the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. This paper seeks to analyse the nature of this struggle between the two sides by monitoring its indicators, revealing its causes and roots, and trying to anticipate the possible paths for its development in the future.
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