Sat. May 28th, 2022

The union expressed concern over the country’s democratic gains as President Kais Saied failed to announce a political plan.

Tunisia’s powerful UGTT trade union has called for early elections, saying it is concerned about the country’s democratic gains due to the president’s unwillingness to announce a plan for political reform.

UGTT leader Noureddine Taboubi’s comments on Sunday, in a speech to thousands of his supporters, put additional pressure on President Kais Saied, more than four months after he all political forces seized.

“We supported July 25 because it was an opportunity to save the country and implement reforms… but we became afraid of Tunisians’ democratic gains due to the excessive reluctance to announce a road map,” Taboubi said.

He added that the president should call for a dialogue with political parties and national organizations that includes the revision of the electoral law and agreement on early and transparent elections.

The UGTT trade union, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 for building democracy in the birthplace of the Arab Spring, is a key political player in Tunisia.

It counts more than one million members across the North African country.

Saied parliament suspended and government fired on July 25, the installation of a new prime minister and the announcement that he would rule by decree. Critics have condemned his move as a coup.

“Tunisia will not be built with individualism,” UGTT secretary general Noureddine Taboubi told AFP news agency after addressing supporters and calling on the president to take a “participatory approach” to to take.

“Work, freedom and national dignity,” the protesters sang. “With our souls and our blood we will defend the UGTT.”

The president defended his takeover as the only way to end government paralysis after years of political strife and economic stagnation. He promised to uphold rights and freedoms won in the 2011 revolution.

Saied also promised to end the state of emergency quickly, but did not give a date for it, and pressure arose on him to submit a plan to return to parliamentary democracy.

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