Journalist Vivien Leigh of the New York Times recounted her observations during her visit to Tunisia and a meeting Tunisian President Kais SaiedAnd she expressed her surprise at the street’s joy at the measures taken by the president recently, and the absence of people protesting against these measures. In her report on the streets of Tunis, she said: I found little desire to protest. There was no sense of fear for the fate of Tunisian democracy.
And she continued: Tunisia continued quietly. Street shoppersSunbathing on the beaches is working, just some taxi radios tuned in to the news.
“People seemed content to wait to see what the man to whom they entrusted their country would do to fix it,” she asserted.
Tunisian President Kais Saied during his meeting with security and military leaders
She added, “There was a question whether democracy the way the West sees it is what many of them wanted in the first place or just to live better with more dignity and freedoms?”
She explained: Tunisia was supposed to be the last great hope of the Arab Spring, but a decade of stubborn unemployment and rising poverty, rampant corruption, political impasse and now the pandemic – has decimated confidence in the government. And last month, Tunisians once again flocked to the streets to demand change, giving President Saied a boost to action.
She continued, “I had spent several days in the capital when I suddenly got a call with two other journalists working for the New York Times to meet with the president.” She added that the president was a former professor of law, and his voice was so resounding, and his speech so impeccable that I immediately imagined him in his old lecture hall.
She explained: I had traveled as quickly as possible to Tunis from Cairo, where I was staying, after the president announced his measures and control of power on television last Sunday night.
“I was expecting to go down in the midst of mass unrest,” she said, “but by that time, demonstrations were difficult to organize, but only a few seemed inclined to protest.” Almost every Tunisian I spoke to seemed happy, if not completely happy, with what President Said had done, a testament to their boredom.
A young Tunisian asked me: “What has democracy done for us?”
It was the ballot box that brought Saied to power in 2019. He seemed an unlikely populist, but he was an outsider to a despised political elite. He’s lived in the same slum for years, drinking his coffee in the same old cafes as his neighbours. He was elected by an overwhelming majority.
She concluded by saying: Throughout the week we tried to analyze Saied’s movements in order to predict Tunisias future, but he was more determined to say that his actions last Sunday night were constitutional. He said that all this was done in accordance with Article 80 of Tunisias 2014 constitution, which grants the president of the republic exceptional powers in cases of “imminent danger” to the country.