Tunisia union chief: Elections 'have neither taste nor colour'
Secretary-General of the Tunisian General Labor Union Noureddine Taboubi considers that legislative elections due later this month have no purpose.
Tunisia's UGTT trade union chief said legislative elections due later this month serve no purpose in light of constitutional reforms that neutered political parties.
"We head into these elections which have neither taste nor colour, stemming from a constitution that was not participatory and was not approved by a majority", Secretary-General of the Tunisian General Labor Union Noureddine Taboubi said.
Last year, President Kais Saied sacked the government and suspended parliament, before extending his power grab this year with a constitutional referendum marred by an official turnout of barely 30%.
New constitution enters into force
Tunisians voted in a referendum on a new constitution that would further expand President Kais Saied’s powers, and the Tunisian Electoral Commission announced the approval of the new constitution and its entry into force in August.
Saied amended the country's constitution and electoral law, and parliamentary elections are scheduled for the end of the year to elect a new parliament with limited powers.
In most of his speeches, the Tunisian President often stresses that his policy is "a correction of the revolutionary path."
The new constitution would make the President able to serve two five-year terms but could extend them if an imminent threat to the state is perceived, granting the head of state the authority to dissolve parliament. No clause allows for the impeachment of the President.
The new draft replaces the country's 2014 constitution, expanding the head of state's authority and providing him with a broad range of powers that is not limited to defense and foreign affairs as is currently the case.
The President of the Republic carries out executive functions with help from the government, whose chief would be appointed by the President and not subject to confidence votes in parliament.
Tunisia has been facing an impending economic crisis and was seeking an IMF bailout package — factors that have troubled ordinary people far more than the political crises over the past year.
Saied urges Tunisians to partake in legislative election next December
In September, Tunisian President Kais Saied issued an order calling on Tunisian voters to partake in the country's legislative elections on December 17, noting that a draft decree has been drawn up and will be used for the upcoming elections.
Saied said, during a cabinet meeting, that the electoral law is no less important than the constitution, even if it is of a lesser legal status, stressing that no party will be excluded from the upcoming legislative elections as long as it meets the conditions stipulated by the electoral law.
It is noteworthy that the Tunisian National Salvation Front announced days before, its final decision to boycott the upcoming elections. Head of the Front, Ahmed Najib Al-Shabi, attributed the reasons for this boycott to what he considered as Qais Saied once again drafting the electoral law by himself, as he did in the constitution, and not disclosing its content, only about 10 days before the final date of its issuance.
On another note, Tunisia's main opposition alliance said on September 7 that its members including the once-powerful Ennahdha party would boycott the December elections to replace a parliament dissolved by President Kais Saied.
"The National Salvation Front has definitively decided to boycott the upcoming elections," said Ahmad Nejib Chebbi, head of the front which is made up of parties and movements opposed to Saied.
Chebbi said the move was in response to an electoral law written "by Saied alone," as part of a "coup against constitutional legitimacy."