Kas Saed, the Patchworker

08/10/2022 | 12.00, updated at 1 p.m

5 minutes

While pretending to be on a highway, the head of state continues to multiply the volte face. He publishes a text drawn up unilaterally and without consultation before deciding to change it. He orders people imprisoned in theatrical circumstances before finally releasing them… Overwhelmed by a situation that eludes him, he often finds himself making up for his own decisions and patching things up…

Last night, Friday, October 7, 2022, to his head of government, the President of the Republic expressed his dissatisfaction with his new electoral code and announced the possibility of changing it. The subject of this dissatisfaction was the problem of sponsorships, which had, however, caused much discussion at the time of the publication of the new code. During his interview with Najla Bouden yesterday, Kaïs Saïed stressed the need to apply the law equally to everyone and to put an end to the phenomenon of manipulation of sponsorships linked to questionable money. “especially when it turned out that many of the members of the local councils did not conform to the role they were assigned”, we can read in the president’s communique.

The President of the Republic has also confirmed that if the current legislation does not achieve its goals, the sacred national duty requires its amendment to put an end to this reprehensible phenomenon.

This electoral code, published in the Official Gazette in its edition of 15 September 2022, was drawn up by Kaïs Saïed himself and took very little account of the recommendations given to him. The version that was sent to the independent high authority for the elections was also different from the one that the head of state decided to formalize and present to the Tunisians. Among the points that caused the most talk, especially Isie, about sponsorships.

The vice president of the electoral body, Maher Jedidi, had also specified that the number of sponsorships required had doubled from what was mentioned in the draft presented to Isie. A question there “will in practice represent a real problem for constituencies abroad in particular”.

The new law requires legislative candidates to submit a summary of their election program to Isie, accompanied by a nominal list of 400 sponsors of voters residing in the constituency. Sponsorships must have a legalized signature. Sponsorships must meet the parity rule, and the number of young people under the age of 35 must not be less than 25%. A rule that was considered binding and which could open the door to vote buying.

Witnesses had already reported attempts to buy sponsorships from Tunisian authorities. A slippage that the head of state points out in his speech yesterday, where he mentions “a market where honor is sold and bought”.

But it is not the first time that the head of state has decided to change a text that he himself has drawn up. He did exactly the same thing when he amended the constitution from 2014. Back then he set up a commission responsible for drafting a new text before deciding to sweep aside the proposal put to him and publish another one, his own.

Before being submitted to a referendum and voted for by 94.6% of the voters who went out to vote that day, this constitution was once again reviewed by the head of state himself during the election campaign in complete violation of the law.

Kaïs Saïed, who since his 2019 presidential campaign has always maintained that he will not deviate from the line he had set, continues to contradict himself. He had gone to war against the former Islamists in power, including Noureddine Bhiri, Rached Ghannouchi, Ali Laârayedh, Ridha Jaouadi, Mohamed Frikha, Mohamed Affes… After sometimes spectacular arrests or police detention for a few hours for some and a few days for the others they were all released. All these cases have led to pshiit and no charges have been filed against these people.

What’s next?! » answered constitutionalist Salsabil Klibi in response to yesterday’s presidential exit. Hichem Ajbouni commented and wrote: “the summit of the absurd! » and by qualifying Kaïs Saïed as “couturier patches”. The leader of the Citizens Against the Coup d’Etat collective, Jaouhar Ben M’Barek, wrote on his page: At the tailor Kaïs Saïed, all kinds of tailoring: constitutions, circulars, decisions, decrees… Try on, then dress at the expense of the house “. Attayar’s deputy, Hichem Ajbouni, also gave his opinion on the matter. Sir. president, you have written a tailor-made constitution, you have changed the electoral law to your liking and you are weaving a costume for the country to your liking. Go for it ! So choose custom proxies and save Tunisians from the evil of sponsorships, legalization of signatures and democracy! “.

Kaïs Saïed does not seem to have mastered the plan he himself had laid out. Committed to deviating from it or sometimes even improvising, retouching and patching up, he very often takes a jacket and proves to the Tunisians that he does a little bit of anything…

Too bad Tajine

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