| 22 May 2024, Wednesday |

Tunisia labor union calls president’s moves danger to democracy

Tunisia’s powerful UGTT labour union said on Friday moves by President Kais Saied to have sole control to amend the constitution were a “danger to democracy” and called for dialogue.

Saied dismissed the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed executive power on July 25 in a move his foes described as a coup, and went further on Wednesday by brushing aside much of the constitution to allow him to rule by decree.

The union, with 1 million members, is an important player in Tunisian politics. It had already warned Saied that although it welcomed his initial intervention in a paralysed political system, he must act within the constitution.

In a statement on Friday, it warned against both his monopoly on powers and over his moves on amending the 2014 constitution.

“The UGTT rejects the president’s monopoly on amendments and considers this a danger to democracy,” it said.

His moves have cast into doubt the democratic gains Tunisians won in a 2011 revolution that triggered the Arab spring.

Major political parties in Tunisia have come out in opposition to Saied’s moves, which the head of Amnesty International said on Friday were a concentration of power “that could lead very quickly to further authoritarianism”.

Speaking in Geneva, Amnesty chief Agnes Callamard said “the warning signs are blinking red”.

  • Reuters