Like the youth in most Arab countries, Tunisians are indifferent to political life in their country and elsewhere. This indifference is the result of old policies and new successive disappointments, which have generated in them ignorance and coldness vis-Ã -vis what is happening on the Tunisian political scene. Although they played a key role in the Tunisian revolution, the successive political, economic and social failures that accompanied the democratic transition in Tunisia deepened their indifference and stagnation.
The sudden rise of Kais Saied and his presidential bid changed the equation for many Tunisians; the retired university professor of constitutional law and resident of the popular âMenihlaâ district in Tunis opposed the media mogul Nabil Karoui, imprisoned during the elections, arrested for money laundering and tax evasion. Saied’s candidacy brought young people back to the polls and rekindled their interest in politics because they believed Kais was serious, honest and uncorrupted.
They placed their hopes on him and were convinced that his tenure would bring change. Indeed, Kais Saied won the presidential elections with more than 72% of the vote, according to the electoral commission, with 2.77 million Tunisians voting for him, most of whom are young people between 18 and 25 years old, according to a poll carried out. by the Sigma Conseil research group.
After Kais Saied’s victory in the elections, Tunisians await the promised change in the fight against corruption, the elimination of nepotism and the establishment of justice and development for marginalized interior regions, whose population suffers from poverty and unemployment for many years.
More than a year and a half has passed since Saied took power without any significant change in the country, the situation has even worsened, especially with the Corona pandemic threatening public health and disrupting economic activity. , adding to a rising unemployment rate and reducing incomes in an already struggling country with a collapsing economy.
Thus, a feeling of disappointment, despair and failure began to enter the hearts of Tunisians again. Indeed, the president improvised positions, empty promises and his vague speeches on the plots hatched inside and outside against Tunisia, without revealing any details on who would be behind them and what were these plots, thus confusing the Tunisians, who began to question his ability to rule the country again and their political choices.
The demonstrations of violence and the fights between the representatives, disgusted Tunisians with political life and politicians.
Also, political quarrels in parliament, manifestations of violence and fights between elected officials, have disgusted Tunisians with political life and politicians in their country. Yet despite his declining popularity, Kais Saied still leads the polls with 53.3%, according to an opinion poll conducted by Sigma Consulting in March 2021.
Many activists had called on social networks to take to the streets for massive demonstrations on July 25, Republic Day in Tunisia, to demand the resignation of the government. This popular and spontaneous youth movement was supported and applauded by part of civil society and some politicians who also called for change. Despite the spread of the Corona pandemic in the country, fears of infection, in addition to temperatures exceeding 45 degrees across much of the country, hundreds of protesters took to the streets in each of the major cities to demand the overthrow of the government, which had repeatedly failed politically, economically and socially to get the country out of the stifling crises it is going through.
According to videos posted on social media, the protesters carried Tunisian flags and shouted slogans demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and the dissolution of Parliament. They chanted âThe people want the fall of the regimeâ and âNo fear, no horror. The power is in the hands of the people â,â No to compensation, corrupt government. “
Other clips also showed protesters storming the offices of the Ennahda movement, the Islamist party with the largest number of members of parliament. Protesters torched some local party headquarters and burned the party flag, replacing it with the Tunisian flag in a symbolic scene reminiscent of the January 14 revolution when the headquarters of Ben Ali’s Democratic Constitutional Rally Party was set on fire.
84% of Tunisians support the president’s decision to dismiss Mechichi and 86% support the freezing of parliament.
On the night of Sunday, July 25, President Kais Saied’s speech was broadcast live on the antenna of the Tunisian presidency. Facebook page, while national television broadcast an entertainment series. The series was interrupted to show the speech moments after the President announced the freezing of Parliament. The speech was unexpected and surprising for all Tunisians.
Several “exceptional” decisions were announced by the Tunisian president, including the freezing of the work of Parliament, the lifting of the immunity of deputies, the dismissal of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and the accession to executive power with the help of ‘a new Prime Minister. Saeid cited article 80 of the constitution, saying it allowed him to suspend parliament if the country was in “imminent danger”.
His decisions were hailed by many Tunisians who burst out in the streets despite a nighttime curfew. A festive atmosphere that manifested itself in rue Habib Bourguiba in the capital, and in other cities, and even on social networks, as an expression of Tunisians’ support for the president’s decisions and their support for Saied in this sensitive stage of the history of Tunisia. However, his opponents in parliament immediately accused him of staging a coup, while others questioned the constitutionality of his decision.
According to an opinion poll carried out by the firm Emrhod Consulting between July 26 and 28, 84% of Tunisians support the president’s decision to dismiss Mechichi and 86% support the freezing of Parliament.
The opinions of most Tunisians shared on social networks indicate that they refuse to deepen the constitutionality of these decisions.
The devastation Tunisia is experiencing today, the stifling crises it is experiencing at all levels, the anger at the government’s handling of a recent massive spike in Covid cases and its blatant inability to find solutions to the deteriorating situation in which Tunisians and the state have floundered for at least a decade, have prompted Tunisians to protest and demand a radical change that will take Tunisia out of its current situation, towards a better future.
Moreover, the ten years during which the Ennahda party seized power through political alliances have been a failure. Corruption, the deteriorating economy in difficulty and the charades of parliamentarians force Tunisians to accept the president’s decisions, even if it is a coup, as some describe it. The opinions of most Tunisians shared on social networks indicate that they refuse to deepen the constitutionality of these decisions.
What matters to them is that Saied’s actions are a response to the demands of a people weary of their own political elite. According to them, these are exceptional decisions which express the convergence of the will of the people with the will of the president to correct the path of the revolution. Rarely does a nation rejoice in freezing the proceedings of its elected parliament. However, the majority of Tunisians revolted against their political elite and supported the decisions of their president to overcome the tragic situation in Tunisia ten years after the Jasmine Revolution.
It is still too early to know the outcome of these decisions and their impact on the general situation in Tunisia. Regardless of their constitutionality and the future development of things in this country which still carries the dream of the Arab Spring; Tunisians have shown once again to the world that they want change and that Tunisian youth, forgotten since 2011, has succeeded where all opposition has failed.