New political groupings, parties, and movements have launched or gained prominence in the wake of President Kais Saied’s decision on July 25 to suspend Parliament, dismiss the previous government, and concentrate powers under the presidency. Meshkal/Nawaat spoke with members or representatives of several of these groups shortly after July 25; they said that the president’s decisions created a new political environment with new conditions ripe for making the changes they want to see. All of them strongly criticized or denounced the political system ante July 25 as undemocratic.
As Tunisians celebrated Eid on Tuesday, crowds of people took to the newly opened, walk-in vaccination centers across the country. The centers—offering vaccinations to anyone over 18-years-old for the first time—had been announced only one day earlier for a limited two-day period. But with the limited time frame, limited vaccine supplies, unclear directives from officials, and short notice given to volunteer organizers, many centers were overwhelmed with some witnessing disruptions, overcrowding, clashes, or the total freezing of operations.
In early May, an official delegation to Washington D.C. met with International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials for discussions on a new loan program for Tunisia. According to a leaked, confidential document allegedly produced by the Tunisian government which Bloomberg reported on (but did not publish), the government proposed removing food and energy subsidies as part of these discussions. In May and June, the prices of several consumer goods, including subsidized sugar, were raised or increased. Some have claimed these price increases were meant to “appease” the IMF as part of the ongoing loan discussions.
In recent weeks, political parties have taken to the streets for rallies and demonstrations. The move from parliamentary chambers to downtown avenues follows weeks of unrest in January and February, confrontations between demonstrators and police, mass arrests and torture of detainees, and disagreements between President Kais Saied and Prime Minister (PM) Hichem Mechichi over the PM’s proposed ministerial reshuffle. The new party mobilizations reflects what one Ennahdha party official has called a “sign of crisis.”
The government led by Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, which was approved in a parliamentary vote of confidence on September 2, 2020, has not yet succeeded in passing any laws that it has proposed to parliament. Nearly 100 days in, the government’s proposed bills have been withdrawn following opposition either in parliament or civil society. Now, as it faces the task of passing a budget, the government’s challenges stem from tensions within and between the coalitions and constituencies holding it up, analysts and political commentators say.
The government began raising donations from Tunisians to help fight Covid-19 in March, but now many are concerned about how that money—just over 200 million Tunisian Dinars (TND)—has been spent. Several high level officials have issued statements that appear to contradict each other regarding how the money has been spent or whether it has been spent at all. Activists and civil society groups claim that officials are providing little transparency on this issue, and some have alleged that Covid-19 funds have been misappropriated and stolen.
When Tunisia went into lockdown from March to June, most private sector businesses experienced at least some stoppage of work. As might be expected, the sector that saw the least closures was the health sector, where 45 percent of businesses remained open, according to an official study. But in the number two position was the information and communication sector—which includes call centers—where 42 percent stayed open without interruptions. According to a new report looking at the rights of call center workers, call centers were “granted authorization to maintain physical operations as an ‘essential service’” even though many maintained “tightly packed spaces with shared workstations and equipment…fertile ground for the virus to spread.”
Suddenly my hands were red. Thick, glass shards—which moments earlier had been a smooth bowl—lay scattered across the tabletop. Small pools of blood followed me like shadows on the kitchen floor before my wife reached me with a towel and instructions to apply pressure. As she gathered car keys, my spinning head brought me to the floor. Seated there, queasy and cold, two strangers—architects my wife had been meeting—helped me wearshoes. They closed the door behind us as we sped to the hospital.
تمثل هذه المقالة جزءًا من ورقة بحثية للباحث فاضل علي رضا نشرت باللغة الإنجليزية من قبل بمؤسسة روزا لكسمبورغ – مكتب شمال أفريقيا، ولأهميتها البحثية، ترجمت إلى اللغة العربية، وقدّ خصّنا المؤلف، بحقوق ترجمتها، وكذلك بمقدمة موجزة للقارئ العربي. تهدف هذه المقالة إلى تسليط الضوء على الكيفية التي تم بها استبعاد العمال من خطاب وعمليات التحول الديمقراطي منذ ثورة 2011.
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