What’s Next for Tunisia?
Al-Arabiya, London, July 31
Tunisian President Kais Saied came to rule Tunisia through free elections. He is a university professor and a respected intellectual. He also has an impressive background in Islamic studies. When he first stepped into office, Saied emphasized that he would build a democratic system that is inclusive of all Tunisian parties and factions. Indeed, the most important thing he did was include the Ennahda party, the Tunisian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the political process. But Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Ennahda, didn’t reciprocate Saied’s kindness. The Tunisian Brotherhood seized the majority in parliament and started taking control over key positions and offices – and a confrontation erupted between the Brotherhood and the Tunisian president. It’s shocking to think that Ennahda and its leaders refused to learn the lessons of the Brotherhood’s experience in Egypt – which led to a military coup that removed them from power – and sought to take over the Tunisian government. Above all, it reveals the Brotherhood’s ultimate objective, which is to reject all other opinions and maintain absolute power. Ennahda leaders should have looked at their neighbors to the East and realized that trying to take control over all state institutions – the presidency, the House of Representatives, the Shura Council, and the government – won’t go by unnoticed by the Tunisian public. Let’s not forget: It was the Tunisian revolution that ignited the Arab Spring. The people of Tunisia are the ones who gave hope for a better future to the entire Arab world. This is not a nation that would simply accept a religious party taking over its political institutions and public life. President Kais Saied is trying to save his people and he will succeed in fighting the Brotherhood and ensuring the unity of his nation. Tunisia is one of the most advanced and enlightened Arab nations, and it will remain a shining cultural and civilizational beacon for decades to come. –Farouk Jweideh (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)