Tunisia’s UGTT Chief Accuses President Saied Of Targeting Unions To Distract From Failures

Tunisia’s powerful UGTT trade union on Friday accused President Kais Saied of targeting it to distract attention from record low election turnout and a massive failure of his economic policies, reported The Africa News.

On Friday, UGTT chief Noureddine Taboubi met with the trade union members in Gammarth to discuss the arrest of the union’s senior official Anis Kaabi earlier in the week.

“The president is trying to divert attention from the record low election turnout in the first and second round of legislative elections and the utter failure of his economic and social decisions,” Mr. Taboubi said.

On Sunday, a second round of parliamentary elections was held in Tunisia which saw a turnout of a mere 11.3%. The election was boycotted by almost 90 percent of voters after Tunisia’s critics accused Saied of trying to silence his political opponents.

Tunisia’s main opposition parties asked Saied to resign from his post after the extremely low voting turnout, saying early parliamentary and presidential elections were the only solution to the crisis.

Mr. Taboubi added that the Saied administration is targeting the UGTT as the authorities want to pass the painful reforms they are always discussing. He said in order to pass the reforms, the authorities are trying to distract the public with trivia by saying that the reason for this situation is the UGTT.

The UGTT chief said Kaabi had been arrested to send a clear message, that the UGTT is a target. Kaabi was arrested on Monday after workers at toll barriers on Tunisian highways went on strike to demand for better pay.

Saied suspended the country’s parliament and dismissed the government in 2021. He began ruling the country by decree, a move the opposition called a coup.

Earlier this week, Tunisia’s president extended the state of emergency in the country until the end of 2023. The state of emergency was first declared in the country on November 24, 2015, following a bomb attack on a bus carrying presidential guards.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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