Unlikely Allies: Meloni And Saïed Embrace Far-Right Ideals

The former deputy and figure of the Attayar movement, Hichem Ajbouni considered that Tunisia has not achieved anything with regard to the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or with regard to the meeting between the President of the Republic, Kaïs Saïed and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the Italian Council, Giorgia Meloni and the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte.

Invited on June 12, 2023 to “La Matinale” by Malek Khaldi on Shems Fm, Hichem Ajbouni pointed to the absence of the head of government, Najla Bouden and the Minister of Finance, Sihem Nemsia. “Najla Bouden was present for the farewell… Maybe she said a “macha allah” about the success of the meeting… As Tunisians, we still haven’t heard from the head of government. explain what his team intends to do… Nobody knows what is in the agreement between the government and the experts of October 2022… The system in place treats Tunisians as subjects. What is the difference between citizens and subjects? A citizen is part of making important decisions through elected officials in parliament or civil society, parties and organizations. We note that since July 25 no party has been consulted,” he added.

Hichem Ajbouni said that sometimes organizations were invited in order to create the illusion of the participatory approach. Decree No. 117 and the new constitution indicate, according to him, that government policy is set by the President of the Republic. However, Kaïs Saïed does not take responsibility for this since he often evokes plotters and individuals whose identity he alone knows and who are behind the complexity of the current situation.

Mr. Ajbouni recalled that Kaïs Saïed held all the powers and that the Tunisians will realize this soon and will notice the absence of reforms linked to the economic situation. Hichem Ajbouni mentioned the example of the ecological question in Sfax. The President of the Republic went there on June 10, 2023 without addressing waste management and the accumulation of household waste. The former deputy insisted on the absence of a proposal at this level.

Hichem Ajbouni equated Giorgia Meloni with a second head of government of Tunisia. “The first state to have two female heads of government is Tunisia. The first is non-resident. This is Meloni. The second is Mrs. Najla Bouden who is based in Tunisia… She does not defend the interests of Tunisia… Meloni does not work for the beautiful eyes of Tunisia… She is part of the extreme right… She has found a ground of agreement with Kaïs Saïed, because both belong to the extreme right. He spoke of a change in the demographic composition of Tunisia… This is a dangerous and fascist statement,” he said.

Hichem Ajbouni criticized the absence of an apology from the Presidency of the Republic regarding statements concerning sub-Saharan migrants. He said the statement in question has not been taken down. He also wondered about the exchanges between the president and the president of the Italian ministerial council. Mr. Ajbouni raised the issue of Tunisians in Italy. He returned to the suicides of some and the deaths in questionable conditions of others having taken place in Italian detention centers. He also mentioned the absence of ambassador and consuls in Italy.

The leader of Attayar felt that Kais Saïed did not care about the interests of Tunisia. He is thinking, according to him, only of the presidential elections of 2024. He wants to avoid a social explosion until that date. It seeks to stay in power without any social or economic achievement. “He threw all his opponents in prison or will soon be. How many cases of conspiracy against state security have we seen? Almost three cases! How many statements about an assassination attempt on the President of the Republic? It is a smokescreen to hide economic and social failure…He tries to hide his failure…He only talks about plotters, drunks, traitors and others…We have learned his speech by heart … We know what he will say in advance,” he said.

Hichem Ajbouni considered that the migration issue should be approached differently. Tunisians choose to immigrate because of the economy’s inability to generate wealth. In order to combat this phenomenon, it is necessary to look into the question of economic reforms. He said the average economic growth rate over the past decade was close to zero. This prevents job creation. Mr. Ajbouni called community businesses a big lie. He mentioned the dismissal of the president of the national commission in charge of penal conciliation and the inefficiency of this structure.

The leader of Attayar assured that he opposed the policies of Kaïs Saïed and not his person. He indicated that the President of the Republic found himself faced with a failing democracy and justice. Instead of reforming, he destroyed these institutions. He considered that the president of the Provisional Council of Justice should have resigned after the president’s statements about the arrest of the defendants in the case of conspiracy against state security. He had considered that the magistrates who would exonerate the accused were their accomplices.

Returning to the visit of the European delegation to Tunisia, Hichem Ajbouni said that Tunisia needed to mobilize fifteen billion dollars and that an agreement of 900 million euros would not change the situation. It is not, according to him, an achievement. The leader of Attayar made a point of recalling that it was only a declaration of intent and not an agreement concluded between Tunisia and the European Union.

Hichem Ajbouni returned to the declarations of the Head of State about the embezzlement of a donation of 500 million dollars, the tunnel dug under the residence of the French ambassador in Tunisia, the suspicious fires, the politician having accumulated a fortune equal to 1,500 billion and assassination attempts. He wondered about the lack of investigations and revelations on these subjects. Regarding the arrest of Ridha Belhadj Issam Chebbi, Ghazi Chaouachi, Jaouhar ben Mbarek, Chaima Issa, Lazhar Akermi and Abdelhamid Jelassi, the leader of Attayar indicated that the latter were not interviewed for a hundred days. He insinuated that the lack of progress in the investigation was linked to the lack of evidence.

Hichem Ajbouni said that Ghazi Chaouachi’s son, Elyes Chaouachi, was summoned by the cybercrime unit. This summons would be linked to statements criticizing the Minister of Justice, Leila Jaffel. “Is the Minister of Justice above criticism? They talk to us about democracy… They arrest Ghazi Chaouachi. They are deprived of books. This is a prank! He is deprived of direct visits. He was unable to see his granddaughter even though he had permission from a judge… The prison director forbade him to do so… Kais Saïed was talking about humanism yesterday… That’s the humanism according to the system of Kaïs Saïed… Ghazi Chaouachi would represent a danger for his granddaughter… The books that his family sent him represent a danger for the country! he exclaimed.

Hichem Ajbouni considered that these were attacks on Ghazi Chaouachi. He considered that Tunisia was no longer a state of law and institution. He criticized the terrorism charges against Ghazi Chaouachi on the one hand and the qualification of the author of the Djerba attack as a criminal. He considered that there was no longer any guarantee of citizens’ rights. He likened Tunisia to a farm subject to the whim of Kaïs Saïed. He criticized the arrest of individuals based on the statements of informants. These are comical and have neither head nor tail. This did not prevent the investigating judges from issuing warrants of committal.

This article is originally published on businessnews.com.tn

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