Tunisian opposition groups sign declaration calling for end to President Saied's authoritarianism
Over 40 Tunisian opposition groups and parties have signed a new declaration calling for an end to President Kais Saied’s authoritarian system of rule, amid the ongoing political crisis currently being faced in the country.
The opposition groups called for "peaceful pressure" to reverse recent presidential decrees that have thrusted the country into a deep political crisis.
The "26 January Declaration" endorses the powerful Tunisian General Labour Union's (UGTT) initiative for national dialogue, and says it aims to "save" the country from what it calls "its current catastrophe".
"We announce our agreement to work through all peaceful and legitimate means to halt the course of July 25th course and consider the current electoral process devoid of all popular legitimacy," the statement read, referring to President Kais Saied's power grab of July 25 2021, when he dismissed the elected parliament and sacked Prime Minister Hichem Michechi.
The statement called for a return to the rule of law and "defence of the social and economic rights" of the Tunisian people.
It also demanded the revoking Article 54 on cybercrime, which has been used to breach the right to privacy, by allowing civilian and military law enforcement officers to access and inspect any information system or device. The Tunisian opposition accuses Saied's government of using the article to suppress free speech.
Many Tunisians have been detained and charged with insulting the president on social media, as a consequence of the decree.
Since his July 2021 power grab, widely described as a "coup", President Saied has seized far-reaching executive powers and implemented an authoritarian constitution. Prior to the power grab, Tunisia was considered one of the success stories of the Arab Spring, with regular democratic presidential and parliamentary elections.
Currently, elections for a new parliament are taking place but they have been described by experts as having "very little legitimacy". On Sunday, a low voter turn-out is expected for the second round of the elections.