In questo nuovo episodio, Francesco Rocchetti, Segretario Generale ISPI, e Silvia Boccardi, giornalista di Will, insieme a Lorenzo Fruganti, analista dell’area Mediterranea dell’ISPI, raccontano quello che sta succedendo in Tunisia dove il presidente Kais Saied ha chiesto ai cittadini di votare un controverso referendum costituzionale che aumenterà a i suoi poteri.
On July 25th, exactly a year after President Kais Saïed’s power grab, Tunisians will take to the polls to vote in a referendum on a new constitution. The proposed national charter will likely expand the President’s powers, raising questions over the country’s future institutional architecture and checks and balances system.
The MED This Week newsletter provides expert analysis and informed comments on the MENA region’s most significant issues and trends. Today, we turn the spotlight on the strike called by the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) for June 16 and the country’s new constitutional process.
Al referendum vince il Sì per la nuova Costituzione. La Tunisia va verso l’iper-presidenzialismo voluto da Kais Saied, ma per molti la deriva autoritaria è a un passo
Where is Tunisia heading, or, better yet, what is the outcome President Kais Saïed wishes to achieve with the founding of a so-called “new Republic”? Will the country grow into an innovative and reliable democracy or, instead, an autocracy disguised as a formally democratic regime? Saïed’s authoritarian measures over the past twelve months are not promising.
Over the past decade, Tunisia has been known as the sole “Arab Spring” success story, considering its steady path towards democratisation. Regrettably, it has also been among the MENA countries most exposed to homegrown jihadist radicalisation and domestic terrorism.
Fundamental shifts in the Gulf monarchies’ foreign and domestic policymaking bear direct implications for their engagement in Tunisia. As a consequence, Tunis no longer plays a relevant role in the Gulf’s political-economic-security nexus. Despite Saudi Arabia’s and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s public support for President Kais Saïed and his authoritarian bent, the Gulf’s focus has shifted from North Africa toward other hotspots in order to preserve power projection in times of rising global multipolarism.
In the run-up to the referendum on July 25th in which Tunisians will be called upon to approve (or reject) President Kais Saïed’s top-down new constitutional draft, attacks against the leading members of the Muslim-oriented Ennahda party have intensified.
When Kais Saïed was elected President of the Republic of Tunisia in 2019, he had just run his campaign on a programme of institutional reform aimed at solving, once and for all, the political crisis that the country is still going through.
Tunisia’s 2011-2021 decade can be summarised as follows: the introduction of democracy, the fall of a semi-socialist state, the deterioration of citizens’ economic conditions, the rise (and fall) of terrorism, and the Covid-19 pandemic. People, however, tend to forget about democracy and focus only on the negative aspects. As such, a new narrative is gaining ground: the crisis started in January 2011, when demonstrations against President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali intensified -and never ended.
Tunisia is currently hurtling towards both economic collapse and political instability. As the country prepares to vote on a constitutional referendum on July 25th, President Kais Saïed has failed to address nearly all the economic challenges facing Tunisia. Since his self-coup nearly a year ago, Saïed has focused on consolidating political power into his hands rather than lowering unemployment, reducing the budget deficit, or addressing inflation.
One of the most striking differences between Tunisia’s current transition back to autocracy and its difficult transition to an imperfect democracy between 2011 and 2014 is the role of the international community and the United States (US) in particular. The US and its Western allies, together with the European Union (EU), the United Nations, and the World Bank, supported the country’s transition to democracy.