TUNIS: Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s Islamist-inspired party Ennahda, has warned that “if there is no agreement on the return of parliament, on the formation of a government and its presentation to parliament, the Tunisian street will undoubtedly mobilize.”
Ghannouchi, who is also the parliament speaker, claimed that President Kais Saied had “put locks on parliament, a tank at its door, that’s a very serious error to say the least.”
He was speaking after the president froze parliament and took over executive powers, saying he had to save Tunisia, which is suffering from a coronavirus outbreak and a failing economy.
Ghannouchi said: “Since the start, we have called on the people to fight the coup d’etat with all peaceful means, and this resistance will continue with peaceful means.”
Prosecutors in Tunisia have launched an investigation into allegations of illegal foreign campaign funding and anonymous donations to Ennahda.
Investigations have also been opened into the national anti-corruption agency — which is itself suspected of corruption — and into the Truth and Dignity Commission created to confront abuses during Tunisia’s decades of autocratic rule.
The probes follow Saied’s dismissal of the prime minister and key Cabinet members, and the 30-day suspension of parliament, which is dominated by Ennahda.
Ghannouchi admitted there had been “mistakes in the economic and social fields, and Ennahda bears a part of the responsibility, which corresponds to the part of power it has held.”
He said the parties in parliament had made the mistake of not managing to establish a constitutional court and that Saied had used the absence of a constitutional court “to monopolize the interpretation of the constitution and to make himself the constitutional court, and that’s an error in which we all bear a part of the responsibility.”
Ghannouchi voiced regret at the lack of dialogue with the presidency. “We are ready to make all concessions so that democracy can return to Tunisia,” he added.
“There is no dialogue today with the president nor with his advisers. But we think we need a national dialogue. We are trying to use all peaceful means — dialogue, negotiations, street pressure, pressure from organizations ... internal and external pressure — to bring back democracy.”