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DECEMBER 2022

Tunisia, Kais Saied’s Monocracy

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Tunisia, Kais Saied's Monocracy

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Written by Piero Messina

Tunisian President Kais Saied invented a new system of government: monochracy. To anyone who disputes his behavior as a dictator, the head of state of the land of jasmine can oppose the appointment of a new government, which took office in mid-October. It is a government that also seems very attentive to gender politics: for the first time, in a North African country, the government is led by a woman, Najla Bouden. In addition, eight other women appear in the cabinet headed by the 63-year-old official of the Ministry of the Whole. These are the perfect arguments for obtaining consensus from the Western community, prey to the sacred fury of the politically correct.

European governments do not flinch. Yet the democratic balances have been violated. It is enough to retrace the stages of the “white coup” to understand, constitutional paper in hand, how Saied has completely changed the rules of the game in Tunisia.

On 25 July last, the head of state had introduced “extraordinary measures” which led Tunisia towards a situation of political chaos and uncertainty. Saied had expelled the prime minister, Hichem Mechichi, from his post and suspended the activities of Parliament, concentrating all executive authority on himself. In addition, and the deputies were deprived of their parliamentary immunity. Those exceptional measures were reinforced with the presidential decree of 22 September. By virtue of that act, Saied announced the extension of the freezing of Parliament’s powers. With that decree, moreover, he limited the role of the government. It is up to the head of state to exercise executive power “with the help of a Council of Ministers, in turn chaired by a head of government”. However, “the President of the Republic will preside over the Council of Ministers” and it is always up to him to replace the premier. Saied overthrew the Tunisian constitutional system which was based on the entrusting of executive podestà to the government. Now, Saied controls everything.

Also at the level of local administrations, Saied is also making a clean sweep. Most of the governors have been replaced. Now they report directly to the Head of State. In the photo opportunity on November 30, the elderly president had himself photographed with the four new governors of the regions of Medenine, Ben Arous, Sfax and Gafsa. They were all in military uniform. Meanwhile, no news about the  Parliament. It remains suspended. In the background remains the threat of Ennadha, the party of the Muslim brotherhood led by Rachid Ghannouchi. For months, he has been relentlessly calling for the reopening of parliamentary proceedings. At any cost.

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