Tunisian dead ends!

The latest news is that Tunisian Foreign Minister Othmane Jerandi has been sacked by President Kais Saied. He is the fourth to have to leave his post since the beginning of the year, revealing an unstable political context in a Tunisia on the verge of major ruptures.

The departure of Othmane Jerandi can be interpreted as relatively good news for Morocco. The man embodied Tunisia’s aggressive diplomatic turn towards Morocco and had been considered the henchman of the Algerian seraglio at the Carthage Palace.

This departure comes at a key moment in Tunisian political history when President Kais Saied, obsessed with his authoritarian whims, tries without success or credibility, to weave a costume of despot and dictator.

The dismissal of Othmane Jerandi would however be linked to the mismanagement by the Tunisian authorities of the affair of the Franco-Algerian activist, Amira Bouraoui.

Recently, Tunisia almost turned into a prison annexed to Algeria when it arrested Algerian Hirak opponent and leader Amira Bouraoui. The latter was discreetly fleeing the Algerian hell via Tunisia. And while the Kaïs Saied regime was preparing to extradite him to Algeria, only the intervention of France put an end to this project and offered consular protection to Amira Bourraoui, also a holder of French nationality.

This crisis around Amira Bouraoui would be so important that it prompted Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune to recall his ambassador to Paris for consultations. It showed, if need be, the close proximity of the military in Algiers to the regime of President Kais Saied. So much so that many questions arise about Tunisia today.

What remains to this Tunisia as a message to transmit to its opinion and its immediate environment? The image of a country drowning under the effect of a devastating economic crisis, of a people sinking under the effect of an unapologetic dictatorship? The abstention rate of Tunisians in the last legislative elections is close to a planetary record, almost 90%.

In question. A man, Kais Saied, obsessed with making a bespoke presidential suit that grants him all the levers of power and has failed spectacularly. Tunisians in the cities, as well as those in the countryside, refused him this whim and voluntarily boycotted his operation to quietly mount a dictatorship around the Palace of Carthage.

Logically and in countries that respect the popular will, such a rate of distrust is likely in itself to cause resignation and withdrawal. Not in the Tunisia of Kais Saied. Man clings to power like a man hanging from his noose. That Tunisia may lose all its assets in order to be able to hope to take off one day matters little to it. The main thing is to keep this power and this new parliament even if it is dubbed by only 10% of the population.

In order not to tell the raw truth to the Tunisians, a certain press preferred to speak of disaffection with politics, of disenchantment with democracy. So many figures of speech to avoid naming a flagrant return to dictatorship, embodied by the obsessions of Kais Saied.

Generally, the tradition implies that when one wants to justify such an undemocratic takeover, it is customary to evoke the Islamist danger. The idea being to export internationally that the authority that did this aims to protect the country from a much greater and more serious danger.

The approach was relatively successful in Egypt with the many hesitations and criticisms that we know. It has, ridiculously, failed in Tunisia with the many internal tensions, in particular with the powerful UGTT union, which is likely to plunge the country into a dangerous cycle of ruptures.

Kais Saied not only disgusted Tunisians with politics, but he also endangered and questioned the international community’s support for the Tunisian economy. To be able to hope to get its head out of the bottleneck, Tunisia needs to negotiate support agreements with international financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank.

And as the political and social situation generated by the choices of the Tunisian president is not likely to guarantee a minimum of stability, it seems like an impossible mission to unlock the generosity of these international institutions. This will certainly contribute to aggravate the suffering of the Tunisian people.

Kais Saied is also putting one of his main European supporters, France, in difficulty. Emmanuel Macron has provided extremely valuable political assistance to the Tunisian president since the beginning of his adventure. Today, with the support of Tunisians for its most skeletal political project, will Paris be able to continue to turn a blind eye to this flagrant democratic deficit under the simple pretext that Kais Saied has promised to be a dam to the return of the Islamists of the party? Annahda in power? Paris is already trying to play Tunisia’s lawyers with international financial bodies.

The recent electoral failures and the multiple coups against the constitution under the era of Saïd Saied will certainly complicate the French advocacy in favor of Tunisia with these institutions whose support seems vital for the country’s economy.

The only “achievement” of which the Tunisians can “be proud” is to see that their president, with his bizarre expression and moody behavior, has made a great rapprochement with the Algerian regime since, to everyone’s surprise, he had received with great fanfare the leader of the Polisario separatist movement Brahim Ghali. Since Tunisia is generally described in social networks as an Algerian wilaya, without any sovereignty.

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