In what opponents are calling a coup, the president of a North African country has thrown out the country’s government, including the prime minister and parliament.
Tunisian President Kais Saied has thrown out his country’s prime minister and parliament, and is now imposing a strict curfew after both supporters and opponents of his move took to the streets to face each other, and threatened violence.
This political confrontation comes amid widespread frustration among citizens of Tunisia over the state of the government and its major political parties.
Throwing Out the Government
According to reporting from News Hour First, “Tunisia has been widely regarded as a rare success story from the 2011 Arab Spring, which began in the country with the largely peaceful overthrow of a longtime president. While the democratic government in Tunisia has outlived most of the reforms of the other Arab Spring nations, the political situation has not been as beneficial as many had hoped it might be.”
The effects of the COVID pandemic on Tunisia highlighted the serious issues that its citizens had with their government, as the country responded poorly to the pandemic and the resulting economic backlash that ensued.
President Saied, who was an independent conservative often compared to Donald Trump, was elected in 2019 with a promise to fight against the establishment political parties.
Saied used emergency constitutional powers as a pretext for throwing out the rest of the government. The leader of the country’s largest political party, Ennahda, portrayed the move as an attack on democracy, urging citizens to gather in the streets to protest.
President Saied, a social conservative and a populist, holds widespread support from the Tunisian people, many of whom see his decision to throw out the prime minister and parliament as a continuation of the 2011 revolution, rather than a betrayal.
The people have been voicing their contempt for Ennahda, as their large majority in parliament ensures that they receive most of the blame for the failures of the Tunisian government.
So far, there hasn’t been any major violence among the opposing factions protesting and celebrating in the streets. Despite this, the strict curfew will limit public gatherings for the next month, as a preemptive measure.