March 8, 2021

Leaders fire Beji Caïd Essebsi, father of democracy in Tunisia

Many world leaders today attend the state funeral of Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, one of the parents of the country's democratic transition, who died last Thursday at age 92 at a military hospital.

Among the broad delegation, the presence of the King of Spain, Felipe VI, of the President of the French Republic, Enmanuel Macron and Arab leaders such as the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad al Zani, or the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stands out.

The president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, his Algerian colleague, Abdelkader Ben Salah, the head of the UN-supported government in Tripoli, Fayez al Serraj, the former German president Joachim Gauck and the secretary general have also moved to the North African nation of the Arab League, Ahmed Abu Al Ghait.

All of them will attend a small ceremony and parade in the presidential Palace of Carthage prior to the burial of the body in the pantheon of the Essebsi family in the Jellaz cemetery, in the southern suburbs of the capital.

During the tour, which will cross the Mohamad V avenue, artery of the capital, the Tunisians will fire the man who, after the revolution that overthrew the dictatorship of Zinedin the Birch Ben Ali in 2011, contributed essentially to consolidate the democratic transition in Tunisia .

Ascribed from a young age to the Neodestur nationalist movement, led by what would be the first president of the new Republic, Habib Bourguiba, Essebsi held numerous positions alongside the Tunisian "father of independence" but also during the dictatorship of Zinedin el Abedin Ben Ali .

Overturned this one in 2011, Essebsi became a key piece to save the transition from the crisis that threatened her in 2013, thanks to her close relationship with the leader of the conservative Islamist movement "Ennahda".

And he was the guarantor of the entry of Tunisia on the path of democracy after being elected a year later head of state in the first clean presidential elections held since Ben Ali took power in the late eighties.

Five years later, he left the country in political uncertainty after a week ago he refused to ratify the amendments to the electoral law approved by Parliament just three months after legislative elections were held.

According to his son and general secretary of the party that he founded "Nidaa Tunios", Hafed Caïd Essebsi, the president decided not to sign the amendments by considering that they are "exclusive" and therefore injurious to the transition.

Among other changes, the amendments tighten the requirements to aspire to the presidential candidacy – which prevents several independent candidates from appearing despite the fact that some polls place them in the lead.

And it also facilitates the return to the political and electoral life of the old guard who escorted the ousted president Zinedin el Abedin Ben Ali, during whose dictatorship Essebsi briefly served as president of Parliament.

According to the specialists, Essebsi had several options before July 13, none of which he chose to: ratify the text, forward it to the Assembly for a second reading, whose approval required three fifths of the deputies, or submit it to a referendum.

Others argue that, after the deadline, the law is automatically promulgated based on the Constitution and can be published in the Official State Gazette for immediate application.

In this context, the Superior Instance Independent of Elections (ISIE), an institution responsible for supervising and overseeing the consultation, decided to advance the presidential elections scheduled for the end of November to try to avoid a possible power vacuum since September 15 Acting President Mohamad Ennaceur, 85, also has a delicate state of health.

Critics also criticize Essebsi for the lack of progress on key issues, such as the formation of the Constitutional Court, and in particular the serious economic crisis in the country, which has forced him to resort to international debt.

Eight years after the revolution that astonished the world, Tunisia suffers from the same problems that led to anger: an endemic corruption and a runaway structural strike, especially among the youngest, which suffocated the middle and working streets and stifled the hope for the future

. (tagsToTranslate) Leaders (t) Beji (t) Caid (t) Essebsi (t) Tunisia

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