- Title: Tunisians fret at president's silence on future
- Date: 30th August 2021
- Summary: TUNIS, TUNISIA (AUGUST 30, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF SECURITY AND ARMY FORCES IN FRONT OF THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF PARLIAMENT BUILDING THE ARAB CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND POLICY STUDIES HEADQUARTERS SIGN READING (Arabic/English): 'THE ARAB CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND POLICY STUDIES' VARIOUS OF DIRECTOR OF THE ARAB CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND POLICY STUDIES, MEHDI MABROOK IN HIS OFFICE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DIRECTOR OF THE ARAB CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND POLICY STUDIES, MEHDI MABROOK, SAYING: 'I think that the President of the Republic's failure to present a clear roadmap and essentially appointing a Prime Minister is caused by two things, firstly, the absence of a clear vision for the President, and the difficulty of finding a person who can work with him according to his vision and his convictions, which cannot convince many. So, I think that the President is in a real dilemma." MEHDI MABROOK IN HIS OFFICE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DIRECTOR OF THE ARAB CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND POLICY STUDIES, MEHDI MABROOK, SAYING: 'If the situation remains the same, the state of ambiguity will intensify and the country will depend on the will of the one leader, and this opens the country to the windows of the unknown from which unpleasant things can come." MEHDI MABROOK IN HIS OFFICE (SOUNDBITE) (French) DIRECTOR OF THE ARAB CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND POLICY STUDIES, MEHDI MABROOK, SAYING: "Mr. President does not have a roadmap to solve the problem of Tunisia and for that, he is using a single slogan 'the people want' without having a real political project to overcome some of the problems of this sick democracy." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE ON THE STREETS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) TUNISIAN CITIZEN, RIDHA FELAH, SAYING: "I see that the President is on the road, a better one than the period we were in all respects, but one hand does not clap, and the President alone cannot do much." (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) TUNISIAN CITIZEN, AYOUB BEN HSAN, SAYING: "I am sure that he does everything with legal matters because if there is something else that he can do that differs on the decisions that he makes, I think he will do it, so I think that every step he takes is in the interest of the people and the interest of the country." VARIOUS STREET VIEWS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) TUNISIAN CITIZEN, AMENI NASRI, SAYING: "I am afraid of the future and afraid for my children. There is nothing that makes you happy or helps you to be optimistic in Tunisia." (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) TUNISIAN CITIZEN, MOURAD WSAIEF, SAYING: "The President of the Republic cannot change the miserable situation that the country has become overnight. I am not pessimistic on the contrary, but I am sure that change is not in the hands of one person." CARS VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING IN THE STREETS
- Embargoed: 13th September 2021 17:43
- Keywords: Tunisia government president
- Location: TUNIS, TUNISIA
- City: TUNIS, TUNISIA
- Country: Tunisia
- Topics: Africa,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001ESH2QMF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Five weeks after their president seized governing powers and a week after he indefinitely prolonged emergency measures, many Tunisians are growing worried at his silence on the biggest crisis of their democratic era.
Though President Kais Saied has spoken regularly on issues ranging from potato prices to corruption, in videos of meetings that his office posts online, he has yet to name a new prime minister or say how he plans to rule.
"I see that the President is on the road, a better one than the period we were in all respects, but one hand does not clap, and the President alone cannot do much," said resident Ridha Felah.
Saied's next steps will determine whether his intervention, called a coup by critics but widely supported by a populace weary of paralysis and economic decline, will ultimately be regarded as a democratic reset or a gateway back to autocracy.
Both ordinary Tunisians and the political class widely expect him to change the constitution to give the presidency more powers after he suspended parliament.
The existing constitution agreed in 2014 as a messy compromise at a tense moment of polarisation after the 2011 revolution that introduced democracy, has long been unpopular. Most candidates in the 2019 election, including Saied, said they wanted to amend it.
However, Saied has given no public statement about what any new constitution would look like, whether he will dissolve the now suspended parliament or how long he expects the emergency period to last.
He has dismissed calls for a "roadmap" from the powerful labour union and major foreign lenders by suggesting they look in geography books and last week he said the government "will be appointed soon, but the state continues".
While political parties, ordinary Tunisians, the union and Western allies have voiced concern at his delay at announcing a programme, few appear ready to put Saied under public pressure yet.
Both the government he ousted and the suspended parliament were very unpopular, while his vocal attacks on corruption and high prices have popular support, making it harder for his critics to oppose him.
The most vocal critic has been the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, the biggest in parliament and a supporter of successive coalition governments since the revolution.
Its immediate response to his intervention was to call it a coup, but it has since dialled back its rhetoric, referring to his moves instead as a "constitutional violation".
The crisis has meanwhile accelerated disputes within the party. However, patience may be running out.
(Production: Jihad Abidellaoui)
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