As planned, it will be a national monologue

* Kaïs Saïed med Sadok Belaïd

Bad times for the Tunisian dictatorship. President Kaïs Saïed may claim to be a spokesman for the people, but he continues to receive slaps one after the other from the “people”.

Its original program was to amend the 2014 Constitution and submit it to a national referendum on 25 July. This constitution, in his own words, was to be drafted by a group of experts to be appointed on 21 March. These experts should be inspired by the results of the national consultation, which should start on 1eh January 2022 and ends on March 20.

It turns out that nothing went as planned for the president.

The Ministry of Technology, which is responsible for developing the national consultation, had technical problems and could not be operational until 15 January. Due to the total absence of any communication strategy and of a real advertising campaign worthy of the name, the consultation received only 535,000 participants. At best because this number is in doubt as only one person could attend multiple times. Given the opacity that prevails, we do not really know whether the number of 535,000 is the number of visits or the number of participants.

Still, it is well below the original target of Kaïs Saïed, who counted on three million participants. And by the way, the 535,000 in no way meet statistical standards. The sample is not at all representative of the population.

Immediately after the national consultation, the President was to appoint the members of the ad hoc commission responsible for translating the results into a draft constitution. With this in mind, he has multiplied meetings with lawyers Amine Mahfoudh, Mohamed Salah Ben Aïssa and Sadok Belaïd.

However, he changed his mind along the way and threw MM from the commission. Mahfoudh and Ben Aissa. The first, however, was not stingy with praise for the president.

It was not until 20 May (ie two months late) that Kaïs Saïed decided on the composition of this commission, whose name was magically transformed into an advisory commission. Its mission is to present a proposal for the drafting of a draft constitution for a new republic, all inspired by the results of the national consultation. In the media, it is presented as a kind of national dialogue.

While it was a matter of drafting the Constitution by the trio of lawyers, the commission set up by Decree 30 of 20 May 2022 expanded the composition to include the Bar Association, the UGTT Trade Union Center, the Utica Employers’ Center, the UNFT Women’s Association, The Tunisian League for Human Rights (LTDH) and the deans of the Faculties of Law, Law and Politics. They are all ordered to present their projects by June 20, one month!

The concern is that Kaïs Saïed did not really inform these various members about his project. While we expected a national dialogue in good and proper form, independent of the commission responsible for drafting the constitution, all these beautiful people, by decree published in Jort, learn that he is a member of a commission advisory body which must take a position to the future of Tunisia and future generations within a month!

Faced with the fact about the prince, there are those who flattened out, proud to have been appointed by the president. This is the case with the President of the Bar Association and the Bar Association, UNFT and LTDH.

And there are those who refused to be pure blunt and thus became complicit in a despotic project. This is the case for UGTT and the deans of the faculties. Utica is playing ostrich at the moment and has not given up its position yet.

UGTT flatly rejected the current form of consultation and urged the president to resign.

The deans, whom no one consulted in advance, refused to play political politics and to be involved in a despotic project.

Although it has already flattened out, it is not forbidden to believe that LTDH is retiring. There is stir in the League in this direction. Former members published a press release on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, confirming their total disapproval of their league’s official position.

What can Kaïs Saïed do to this sling?

Some believe he will withdraw his decree 30 and revise. His Minister of Social Affairs Malek Zahi suggested this.

That would be ignoring the president.

There is a fact and this has been repeated many times by political observers.

The President of the Republic has already drafted the Constitution and he does not need anyone’s opinion. Executive Order 30 is just a smokescreen, created precisely to avoid being accused of deciding the future of the country on its own. In fact, the Constitution has already been written and we have seen its broad outlines in the questions for the national consultation.

He intends to force through, and he has already prepared the ground for that. He supports no opposition and no criticism of his project. That is why he expelled Amine Mahfoudh and Salah Ben Aïssa, and that is why Decree 30 appointed a simple advisory commission and not a commission responsible for gathering proposals and ideas, as he himself said on 13 December 2021.

That is also the reason why he expelled deputies and the political parties from his decree, whereas they are the ones who are legitimately the true representatives of the people.

Finally, worth remembering, he wants the referendum to lead to a massive yes, and to do this he changed the composition of the independent electoral body (Isie). He has appointed carefully selected individuals to carry out his decisions, even if they are difficult to carry out.

Some members of Isie pointed out that the date of the July 25 referendum is insane, this did not change the president’s opinion.

Business News, as well as a large number of political analysts, have said time and time again that Kaïs Saïed does not want dialogue. He does not hear anyone. He has ideas in mind and he will force them through, at all costs.

Like when he receives his ministers and talks to himself for long minutes, like when we listen to him during the Council of Ministers, like when he was a teacher dictating his lessons to stupid students, Kaïs Saïed intends to impose a constitution on the Tunisians without someone who says something.

Kaïs Saïed does not want dialogue, Kaïs Saïed only wants monologues, his own.

Raouf Ben Hedi

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