In what many opponents are calling a coup, the president of a North African country has decided to throw out the government and impose a curfew.
Tunisian President Kais Saied has now thrown out his country’s prime minister and parliament, and has announced a strict curfew over fears of violence after supporters and opponents of his move took to the streets to face each other over the decision.
As frustration among the Tunisian people continues to mount over the state of the country’s government and its major political parties, confrontation between supporters of the establishment and Saied’s supporters is rising.
Though no major violence has occurred as of yet, the curfew is meant to be a preemptive measure, and will limit public gatherings for at least a month.
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 Tunisian government’s poor response to the COVID pandemic and the resulting economic backlash has highlighted the concerns of the country’s citizens. The people have been outspoken in their anger at Ennahda, the country’s largest political party. Due to their significant majority in parliament, they have been receiving most of the blame for the failures of the Tunisian government.
President Saied, a social conservative and populist who is often compared to Donald Trump, was elected in 2019 thanks to his promise to fight against the establishment political parties. Claiming an emergency, Saied used his constitutional powers as president as a pretext for throwing out the rest of the government.
The leader of Ennahda has portrayed the move as an attack on democracy, and has urged citizens to take to the streets to protest.
Despite all of this, President Saied has widespread support from the Tunisian people, many of whom have portrayed his decision to throw out the government as a continuation of the 2011 revolution, rather than a betrayal.