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Thousands of Tunisians Rally Against Presidential Power Grab Coup, Labor Union Calls for Early Elections

November 17, 2021

Tunisians protesting the presidential coup, November 14, 2021

Demonstrators hold up a placard reading 'Get out dictator!' during a protest against President Kais Saied's seizure of power in Tunis on 14 November 2021

 

Tunisia labour union chief calls for early elections, new electoral law

MENA

The New Arab Staff

16 November, 2021

The leader of Tunisia's powerful UGTT has called on the president to set early elections and a new electoral law in the country as part of a solution to the ongoing crisis ShareFlipboardRedditWhatsAppTwitterFacebook Al-Taboubi said there needs to be an internal Tunisian solution to the crisis.

The head of Tunisia's leading trade union called on Tuesday for early parliamentary elections in the country and the drafting of a new electoral law.

After meeting with the new cabinet sworn in last month and led by the first Arab woman Prime Minister, Najla Bouden, General Labour Union Secretary-General Noureddine Al-Taboubi asked President Kais Saied to set a deadline for the preparations for the elections.

The UGTT chief stressed that there was "no returning to before 25 July", referring to when Saied seized control of the country after sacking the prime minister and dissolving parliament.

Saied's move has been considered a coup by rivals including the Islamist Ennahda party, which held a majority in the now-defunct legislator.

Al-Taboubi asked the president to unite all political parties in the country despite their differences, and that the solution to Tunisia's crisis must come from parties themselves and "not in the streets".

Police attacked protesters on Sunday as thousands of Tunisians demonstrating against Saied tried to march on the suspended parliament.

The UGTT has a strong influence in the North African country. Although it has not outright condemned Saied for his July move - described as a coup by opponents - it has called for swift action to mend political tensions and resolve the deepening economic and financial crisis.

Tunisia labour union chief calls for early elections, new electoral law (alaraby.co.uk)

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Thousands of Tunisians rally against presidential power grab near suspended parliament

France 24, November 14, 2021

Thousands of Tunisians gathered near the country's parliament Sunday to protest a presidential power grab they have deemed a "coup".

It was the latest rally opposing President Kais Saied's July 25 decision to sack the government, suspend parliament and seize an array of powers, citing an "imminent threat" to the country -- the birthplace of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings against autocracy.

More than 3,000 protesters gathered, shouting "The people want to bring down the coup d'etat" and "Kais's project is a civil war" and branding the president an "agent of colonialism", AFP correspondents reported.

Some carried signs reading "No to the intimidation of the media" and demanding "an independent judicial authority".

The demonstrators "shut down all the streets, the avenues, the motorways", said Jawhar Ben Mbarek, a figure of the Tunisian left.

"After shutting down the state, Saied has shut down the institutions, the constitution. He has shut down the country," he charged.      

Social media users shared images of police using cars and mini-vans to block protesters from reaching the suburb of Bardo, where the parliament building is located.

Several members of the Islamist Ennahdha party, a key force in the dissolved parliament, were at the forefront of the procession alongside left-wing representatives, holding signs reading: "MPs against the coup".

Military courts 'targeting civilians'

Other protesters gathered near parliament, Tunisian flags in hand, and shouted their opposition to military trials for civilians.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International warned that "military courts in Tunisia are increasingly targeting civilians, in some cases for publicly criticising President Kais Saied".

It said that within the past three months, at least 10 civilians have been investigated by military courts.

On September 22, Saied suspended parts of the constitution and installed rule by decree, maintaining full control of the judiciary as well as powers to sack ministers and issue laws.

He appointed a new government in October, with Najla Bouden as the North African country's first female prime minister.

But he has significantly pared back the powers of her office and will technically head the administration himself.

Saied, who was elected in late 2019, made his shock move amid a socio-economic crisis aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of his opponents have accused him of seeking a new dictatorship, a decade after Tunisia's 2011 revolt that overthrew dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

But the president's supporters say his moves were needed after years of deadlock among political parties seen as corrupt and self-serving.

(AFP)

Thousands of Tunisians rally against presidential power grab near suspended parliament (france24.com)

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Tunisia issues international arrest notice against former president Marzouki

Issued on: 04/11/2021 - 20:59

Moncef Marzouki shown in August 2019 as he submitted his candidacy for early presidential elections in Tunis.  Hasna/AFP/File Text by:NEWS WIRES 1 min

Tunisia has issued an international arrest notice against former president Moncef Marzouki, state news agency TAP reported on Thursday, a month after he called on France to end support for the current administration.

There were no detail on what charge Marzouki faced, but current President Kais Saied last month ordered an inquiry into what he said were allegations that Marzouki had conspired against state security.

Saied has faced mounting criticism abroad since he assumed executive authority in July, then brushed aside most of the constitution to seize near total power in moves Marzouki and other critics have called a coup.

Saied unveiled a new government in October and has promised a national "dialogue", but has yet to lay out a detailed plan to restore normal constitutional order as donors demand.

Marzouki told Al Jazeera TV he was not surprised by the arrest warrant and called it "a threatening message to all Tunisians".

Marzouki, who has been based in France in recent weeks, was president from 2011 to 2014. France is the former colonial power in Tunisia and still has considerable influence.

TAP said the arrest notice was issued by the investigating judge in charge of Marzouki's case, citing the communications office of the Tunis First Instance Court.

(REUTERS)

Tunisia issues international arrest notice against former president Marzouki (france24.com)

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