Concerns are growing in Europe about the future of neighboring Tunisia. The ongoing political crisis intensified after the president, Kais Saied , dissolved parliament, which had been frozen since July. This move has further plunged the country into political turmoil and fueled fears of a nascent autocracy.
In his latest effort to consolidate power, on March 30 the Tunisian president formally dissolved the parliament, which was chaired by his main rival, the leader of the Islamic party, Rached Ghannouchi .. This controversial move came at a time of mounting political tensions in the country. Since last July, Saied has taken a series of exceptional measures that include freezing the chamber, changing the prime minister, rejection of the 2014 Constitution and the dismissal of the High Council of the Judiciary.
As a counter move, Ennahda and the other parties contesting these presidential decisions held a videoconference meeting of the parliament on March 30, considered by Saied to be illegal and an attempted coup d’état, which served to justify the dissolution of the Chamber.
Yet despite the opposition to Saied having branded his takeover as unconstitutional, the president appears to retain a solid social base, as evidenced by the broad popular consensus recorded on his steps towards a presidential system.
However, concerns remain not only for the stability of Tunisian democracy, which is becoming a nascent autocracy, but also for the consequences they will have on the already disastrous economy.
Tunisia recorded a public debt of 107.8 billion dinars (approximately 33.2 billion euros) at the end of 2021, equal to 85.8% of GDP. This was revealed by the monthly report on public debt published by the Tunisian Ministry of Finance, specifying that the residual debt has in fact increased by almost 16% compared to 2020 (93 billion dinars, equal to 77.8% of GDP) and by almost 30% compared to 2019 (83.3 billion dinars, equal to 68% of GDP).
Internationally, recent developments have raised strong concerns in both the United States and Europe, which have traditionally been committed to the country’s institutional and economic stability.
“The European Union is very concerned about the latest developments in Tunisia, in particular the dissolution of parliament and the criminal proceedings launched against some of its members”. This was stated in a statement by the spokesperson of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. “We ask for the return to normal functioning of the institutions as soon as possible and we will continue to closely monitor the various stages of implementation of the political calendar approved in December 2021”, said spokeswoman Nabila Massrali.adding that “it is essential that the reform process is based on an inclusive approach and dialogue of all political and social actors”. “In full respect of the sovereignty of the Tunisian people, we also recall the importance of respecting democratic achievements, the separation of powers, the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms, including civil and political rights, in order to guarantee stability and prosperity of the country “. “We note the progress made in drawing up a program of economic reforms and reiterate our support for the Tunisian people in the context of a serious social and economic crisis, further aggravated by the impact of the Russian aggression on Ukraine”, concludes the note .
This is why a group of deputies from the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee will be in Tunisia from 11 to 13 April. “Consultations are planned on Tunisia’s path towards political reforms and the return to institutional stability”. This was explained by a note from the European Union delegation in Tunisia. MEPs will seek to reaffirm the need for inclusive political dialogue, respect for the rule of law, civil liberties and human rights, as well as a political system based on democratic principles, in particular the separation of powers guaranteed by institutional checks and balances .
The fear is that Saied’s next step could be the dissolution of the opposition parties, first of all the Islamic one in Ennahda. A first signal in this sense comes from the president’s supporters. The Tunisian collective ’25 luglio ‘, in fact, has asked for the dissolution of Ghannouchi’s party and the indictment of its leader and of all the members of parliament who attended the online meeting last March 30th. Kamel Ourabi, coordinator of the movement, also asked to activate article 72 of the Constitution and to “exclude the party that has been responsible for the state of chaos and the deterioration of the economic and social situation that Tunisia has experienced in the last decade”. The movement also announced a protest for Sunday 10 April in the capital for the refusal of any foreign interference in the country. The reference is to the fact that Ennhadha is accused of being financed by Turkey and Qatar. It is feared that on that day riots could break out in Tunis as the Islamic party had already proclaimed a demonstration, on that very date, to protest against President Saied.

Previous articleThese are the best precooked potato tortillas according to the OCU
Next articleViareggio: what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening