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Tunisia’s UGTT Strike Against The Referendum: What’s Next?

Tunis - Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab spring and the sole democratic country in the Arab world is going through a serious constitutional crisis.

After winning the election last July 25, Saied abolished the assembly and suspended the constitution, ignoring his opponents’ condemnation of the decisions.

President Kais Saied is calling for a national dialogue with the most powerful union in the country, the Tunisian General Trade Union (UGTT). However, the union announced a national strike on June 16. 

The UGTT has more than a million members, rendering its strikes capable of shutting down the country. President of the Union Nour Eldin Tabboubi decries Saied’s calling for a constitutional referendum.

The UGTT disavowed Saied’s plan to draft a new constitution despite meeting with the president on May 22 to discuss his roadmap. Nour Eldin Tabboubi deplored every new plan of reform and announced they will not participate in his political coup. 

Despite no initial opposition to Saied’s measures after the election, the head of UGTT is showing a shift in its position. The head of the union’s ambivalence toward Saied’s political reforms is paramount in the last few days. 

Apart from the UGTT's disapproval of Saied’s new decision, a coalition of more than 10 international human rights groups denounced Saied’s monopolisation of power following his removal of 57 judges last week.

Human Rights Watch declared that Said’s decision to dismiss these 57 judges with self-granted absolute authority “dealt a deep blow to judicial independence.” They proceeded to say his decision is “an assault on the rule of law.” They also insist that Kais Saied must revoke the decree and restore the constitution, as it is the only hope for a democratic rule in the region. 

Human Rights Watch also claim Saied is taking Tunisia back in time along the path of tyranny by reinforcing and solidifying a one-man rule of sovereignty. Saied’s decree “triggers criminal cases against the judges” which “violates the principles of equality before the law and equal protection of the law.”

Despite the international criticism, Saied’s new reforms are allegedly explained as “a reform to save the country from a decade of ruin.”

On 25 July, the first anniversary of Saied’s reinforcement of power is the date of the planned referendum proceeding with the elections in December. Although, his national consultation unsuccessfully failed to generate public support. 

The new draft of his nascent constitution is yet to be presented to the public after unsuccessfully generating public participation. 

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Tags: #Democracy #KaisSaied #tunisia


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