Politics & News

Hundreds rally in Tunisia to support Saied’s measures

Hundreds of Tunisians demonstrated on Sunday in support of President Kais Saied and his steps toward rewriting the constitution that opponents say will cement one-man rule.

Saied supporters, whose gathering in central Tunis was less crowded than recent opposition protests, said the president’s opponents were corrupt and called for opposition parties to be held accountable.

The president’s supporters raised slogans saying, “The people want the corrupt to be held accountable,” “No to foreign interference,” and “The people support Saeed in purifying the country.”

Saied assumed executive power last year before announcing that he would rule by decree and sack parliament. He is currently forming a committee to draft a new constitution that he intends to put to a referendum in the summer.

The crisis threatens the country’s democratic gains since 2011 when Tunisians toppled the authoritarian rule of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and then a wave of uprisings against authoritarian leaders across the Arab world.

A large majority of Tunisians, frustrated by years of turmoil, appeared to have endorsed Saied’s moves last summer, but the mounting economic crisis threatens to undermine his popularity.

Saied considers that dialogue on the political system will be limited to those who supported the July 25 track and major organizations, rejecting calls from the main parties, the powerful Tunisian General Labor Union, and foreign donors for broader talks.

Tunisia has not seen a major crackdown on dissent or freedom of expression, but Said is speaking increasingly frankly against his opponents.

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