Today, Saturday, the Tunisian General Labor Union (the largest labor organization in the country) re-elected Noureddine Taboubi as its Secretary-General, as he approaches a critical national turning point in which he may play a pivotal role.

At the conclusion of its electoral conference, the Union called on President Qais Saeed for a broad participatory dialogue to implement political reforms, including amending the constitution, saying that the electronic consultation launched by Saeed could not in any way replace the dialogue.

Taboubi, who has headed the Tunisian General Labor Union for five years, took a cautious stance during the turbulent months since President Kais Saied acquired almost most of the powers, in a move his opponents describe as a coup.

The Labor Union had repeatedly announced its support for the measures taken by Saeed on July 25, but he stressed - in return - that he would not give him a blank check.

Tunisia is experiencing a financial and economic crisis, at a time when the government has begun preliminary discussions with the International Monetary Fund in pursuit of a loan, amid warnings of a possible social explosion due to high prices and the deterioration of the purchasing power of citizens.

The union's approval is seen as crucial to any effort by the Tunisian authorities to implement economic reforms demanded by foreign donors in exchange for a financial rescue package to avert a looming crisis that threatens to bankrupt Tunisia.

The logo of the Tunisian Labor Union (Al-Jazeera)

decisive position

The position of the labor organization will also be decisive in Said's plans to reshape Tunisian politics after he suspended the elected parliament and ignored the constitution to announce that it governs by decree.

This month, Saeed also dissolved the Supreme Judicial Council, and issued a decree to a temporary council allowing it to dismiss judges and prevent their promotion, tightening his grip on all powers.

The final regulations of the Union Conference stated that the reform of the judicial system should be through a time-limit for the Interim Supreme Judicial Council, and the need to involve the relevant bodies in judicial affairs for a new path for the Supreme Judicial Council so that the judicial facility would perform its role in bringing justice and law enforcement.

It is noteworthy that the Labor Union won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015 with 3 civil society organizations for its role in leading a dialogue between opponents, which prevented Tunisia from falling into chaos.

With around a million members and the ability to shut down Tunisia's economy with strikes, the UGTT is widely seen as the most powerful political player in the country, and perhaps the only organization that can stand up to the president's broad authority.

However, Saied has so far largely ignored the union's repeated demands to engage in a wide-ranging political and economic dialogue about the crisis and its plans to rewrite the constitution.

The Supreme Council of the Judiciary resolved his question, with the rejection of many (European) parties.

Extension and defense

The Tunisian president had extended the state of emergency in the country until December 31 of this year, and the decision to extend the emergency was mentioned on Friday in the Official Gazette.

The state of emergency has been in effect in Tunisia since 2015 following the bombing of a presidential security bus that killed and injured dozens.

In Brussels, the Tunisian president again defended, on Friday, the exceptional measures he announced on July 25, which included the freezing of Parliament and the dissolution of the government, and paved the way for his seizure of legislative powers.

He added that these measures came to build a better future for the Tunisian people while adhering to the independence of the judiciary and the values ​​of freedom, democracy, human rights and the fight against corruption.

The Tunisian president affirmed his respect for the law and his adherence to the values ​​of democracy, freedom and human rights, stressing Tunisia's need for strong institutions that carry out their tasks in the best way.

Tunisian President extends the state of emergency (Al Jazeera)

Follow up and hope

On the other hand, the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Messoula, said that the European Parliament is following the situation in Tunisia, and hopes that it will be able to overcome this circumstance in order to consolidate the gains that have been achieved for it and achieve the aspirations of the Tunisian people. She also stressed the importance of returning to an effective parliamentary democracy.

In two statements published on its official Facebook page, the Tunisian presidency quoted Saeed as saying, during his meeting with a beggar and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on the sidelines of the European-African Summit in Brussels, that the exceptional measures taken in his country were aimed at saving the state.

Yesterday, Thursday, Saeed denied in Brussels the accusations against him of working to establish a dictatorial regime in Tunisia.

Most of the political forces in Tunisia reject Said's actions, describing them as a coup against the constitution and the revolution. The president's actions - the most recent of which was the dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council and its replacement with another temporary council - sparked international criticism.

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