Tunisia’s ‘Robocop’ president and his get for electric power

Carol E. Corker

When Tunisian President Said Kaies fulfilled with parliamentarians on Monday he experienced a concept for those accusing him of carrying out a coup by invoking emergency constitutional powers to dismiss the government.

All those people need to revise their constitutional classes, the 63-yr-outdated mentioned. “I am baffled by all those who discuss of a coup. I studied and taught the law and I know what a coup means — violating legitimacy,” he said in a Monday assembly with Tunisian associates, a video clip of which was posted on his Facebook page.

It was an odd retort, albeit on brand for the previous jurist not renowned for his general public rhetoric but who nonetheless received a shock landslide election in 2019 as an incorruptible outsider dedicated to executing what is proper for standard Tunisians.

Mr Saied was a political nobody in the run-up to the 2019 vote, the 2nd no cost presidential election in Tunisia’s historical past next the 2011 downfall of longstanding autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali at the commence of the Arab Spring.

A retired constitutional legislation lecturer, Mr Saied was not affiliated with any of Tunisia’s political functions, nor with the country’s ruling course. The political naif was not even a fantastic community speaker.

His stultifying addresses in superior classical Arabic – outlying his eyesight for cleansing up politics, stamping out corruption and empowering regional bodies – attained him the nickname “Robocob”.

But for Tunisian voters fed-up with sleek-chatting elites who promised the world and sent little, Mr Saied appeared like the real deal.

His conservative views, like opposition to LGBT legal rights, sat properly with a lot of voters, as did his message of social justice for Tunisia’s downtrodden. 8 several years following Tunisians had taken to the streets en masse to chant “The men and women want the slide of the routine,” little had improved to increase their lives.

In run-off elections, Mr Saied received virtually 73 per cent of the vote in opposition to a charismatic media mogul who had campaigned from jail after remaining arrested on prices of tax fraud and income laundering.

Mr Saied’s supporters assumed that his superior-minded sensibilities would cut through bash politics to produce Tunisia a extra meritocratic democracy, free from the slim political pursuits of the recognized events.

But instead Mr Saied observed himself in a presidency whose powers are constrained by a constitution that well balanced them against those people of the primary minister and the speaker of parliament.

A struggle ensued as the distinct factions of governing administration tested the limitations of their constitutional powers, with Mr Saied sparring with key ministers and parliamentary speaker Rachid Ghannouchi, the veteran chief of Ennahda, the average Islamist social gathering that was banned less than Ben Ali.

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