Tunisian President Kais Saied affirmed on Friday his unwillingness to “dialogue with those who plundered the people’s resources”, after Tunisian authorities rejected his call for dialogue.
“I never accept deals under cover of darkness,” the Tunisian president said, adding that “some people want to destroy the state… and state institutions are being hit from within.”
The political crisis that Tunisia is currently experiencing has led to partisan tensions and criticism within parliament from political blocs that criticized the work of the government and the parliament’s presidency, and demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Hisham al-Mashishi and Parliament Speaker Rashid Ghannouchi.
This comes after a spokesman for the Tunisian Ennahda movement announced, today, Friday, that the movement “agrees with the Labor Union” in the necessity of holding early presidential and legislative elections, if the current political crisis in the country is not overcome.
This comes as the Tunisian General Labor Union, the largest trade union organization in the country, is heading to organize a national dialogue without the participation of President Kais Saied, after questioning his initiative aimed at getting the country out of its political, economic and social crisis.
On Tuesday, President Saeed called for a national dialogue that would lead to agreeing on a new political system and amending the 2014 constitution, which he said was “all locks”, in an effort to solve the severe political crisis in the country.
Saeed seeks to end the months-long political stalemate and the dispute between him and Prime Minister Hisham al-Mashishi, who is backed by Parliament Speaker Rashid Ghannouchi, head of the Brotherhood’s Ennahda Party, due to the conflict between the president and the prime minister over powers and political alliances.
During a speech during his meeting with Al-Mashishi and three former prime ministers, Saeed said, “Let’s enter into a serious dialogue… regarding a new political system and a real constitution, because this constitution is based on putting locks everywhere and institutions cannot go through locks and deals.”
The Tunisian constitution, which was approved by parliament in 2014 after the 2011 revolution, was widely praised internationally and described as a modernist constitution. But most politicians admit that it includes many controversial points that need to be amended, especially with regard to the distribution of powers and the limits of powers between the president, the prime minister, and parliament. Disagreements over the interpretation of the constitution have led to recurring political crises since 2016.
Saeed had said last April that his powers as commander in chief of the armed forces also include the internal security forces, not just the army, in an escalation of his dispute with Al-Mashishi over the powers and based on controversial chapters in the constitution.
While Ennahda supports the establishment of a purely parliamentary system, President Said does not hide his preference for a presidential system, like many other politicians who believe that Tunisia needs one leadership.
The current system is a mixed system in which the president is directly elected, but most of the powers are in the hands of the prime minister, who is appointed by the ruling coalition.