After a silence that lasted about a month, Tunisian President Kais Said finally announced his “conditional” acceptance of sponsoring an initiative for a national dialogue that the Labor Union had presented, with the aim of extricating the country from its social and political crisis.
Observers believe that Qais Said set preconditions for the dialogue, in turn, created a new crisis, and doubled the level of suspicion among the parties involved in this dialogue, and questions about the president’s true intentions for fear of deviating from the initiative in the service of his political project.
A few days ago, President Said, while receiving the Secretary-General of the Labor Union, Noureddine Taboubi, expressed his “acceptance of conducting a dialogue to correct the course of the revolution that was deviated from its true course that the people set 10 years ago,” according to the text of the statement.
In the same context, he stressed, “the necessity of involving representatives of youth from all regions of the republic in this dialogue, according to criteria to be determined later.”
The leader of the Ennahda Movement, Muhammad bin Salem, does not express any objection to Saeed’s call to involve the youth in the national dialogue process, but in his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, he expressed his bewilderment about the targeted youth group, even if they were only those who supported him in the elections.
Bensalem urged the president to “involve all youth groups in all their political and civil backgrounds, away from the logic of selection and exclusion as the president of all Tunisians and not a specific group.”
Since his presidential election campaign, President Qais Saeed has not hidden his rejection of the political and party system, blaming it for the responsibility of the country’s crises, in return for his adoption of the “local governance” project, and the appreciation of the role of “regional coordination” led by youth, which played a pivotal role in his access to power.
Although the Speaker of Parliament, Rashid Ghannouchi, welcomed the President of the Republic to accept the dialogue initiative and engage youth in it, he stressed during his meeting with the Secretary-General of the Labor Union, “the need for this to be within the structures and organizations that are active and effective on the ground, similar to the structures of student youth.”
The researcher in constitutional law, Rabah Khraifi, went on to say – in his interview with Al-Jazeera Net – that President Qais Saeed’s stipulation of youth participation in the national dialogue and linking it to achieving the goals of the revolution is a “clear deviation from the initiative of the Labor Union.”
Deviation in the national dialogue
He pointed out that Saeed’s condition to involve young people in the national dialogue conceals an implicit desire to reward the youth of the internal authorities, and the local coordinators that contributed to his access to power, and still owes him loyalty.
On the other hand, he pointed out that Ghannouchi’s response was not late when he, in turn, suggested involving student organizations, “in an implicit reference to the Tunisian General Union of Students, affiliated with the Ennahda movement,” he said.
Al-Khoraifi believed that the president’s condition is closer to impotence than to the real desire to conduct a real national dialogue, and that he placed the Labor Union Organization, which had the initiative, in an awkward position.
The embarrassment of the labor union
The official spokesman for the labor union, Sami Al-Taheri, refused to comment on the position of the President of the Republic on the initiative of the labor organization and the conditions that he had set, confirming – in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net – that the executive office will meet this week and determine its position.
The leader of the People’s Movement, Osama Oweidat, appreciated – in a media statement – the president’s acceptance of sponsoring the national dialogue and involving youth in it, but he wondered about the mechanisms that will be relied upon in choosing this group, and about the time factor in light of a tense situation that does not accept waiting.
In a statement to Al-Jazeera Net, political analyst Boulababa Salem said that President Qais Saeed floated the initiative of the Labor Union when he stipulated the participation of youth without specifying selection criteria.
He stated that the president’s condition after a weeks of silence might be a shock to the labor organization, which in turn had set standards and conditions since it presented the initiative to the president.
It is noteworthy that the Labor Union initiative included political and economic proposals to get out of the crisis in the country, and one of its most important items is the establishment of a “wise council” of various specializations led by independent national figures, with the task of managing dialogue.