TUNIS — Opponents in Tunisia believe that the country is heading to a dangerous turn in the coming period due to President Kais Saied's issuance of a presidential order that he considered "exclusionary" to review secondments in government jobs after the 2011 revolution, while supporters of the president see his initiative as important to "purge the administration."
Last Friday, Saied announced a presidential order published in the Official Gazette to conduct a comprehensive audit of recruitment and integration into the public service, in a move that seeks to exempt all workers who were hired with false certificates or "political loyalties."
The Tunisian president also issued another presidential order stipulating that every employee be exempted from his career plan in the central administration by the minister without justifying that exemption, as was the case previously, and these decisions caused great controversy in political circles "wary of the president."
The Interior Ministry has already begun work on preparing lists of employees covered by the exemption, according to a statement issued on its official page.
Filtering and ablation
The leader of the opposition Salvation Front, Najib Chebbi, says that "Saied is heading in a dangerous precedent to liquidate his political opponents and root them out of government jobs, and that all fascist authoritarian regimes have taken such a step to hit opponents."
Chebbi believes – in his speech to Al Jazeera Net – that any employee has the right to choose any political color according to his convictions and choices, provided that it does not enter into his career as an employee in the state, saying that the president "claims that his projects were disrupted because of partisan employees playing a subversive role in the administration to justify his failure."
"This may be the most serious decision Saied has taken since his coup on July 25, 2021, because it is a decision to liquidate his opponents on the basis of political identity, and it is no less dangerous than arresting the most prominent political figures in the opposition and throwing them in prison on false charges."
The leader of the Salvation Front asserts that President Saied's decision to start exempting government employees on the basis of their opposition to him will introduce "great confusion in the work of the administration and will have serious social effects on the fate of thousands of employees within the state, their families and livelihoods."
Since February, the Tunisian authorities have embarked on a large-scale campaign of arrests that included prominent leaders of opposition parties such as Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi and his party comrades, and other opposition figures in the Democratic Current, the Republican Party, among others.
Hisham al-Ajbouni, a leader of the Democratic Current Party, said the president's decision to review appointments after the revolution was "another attempt to cover up his failure to achieve any achievements, while the country is grappling with the worst financial, economic and social crisis".
He adds to Al Jazeera Net that the decision to review the date of 2011, will not include senior staff who need at least two decades to be included in senior positions, and this review will be a process of "uprooting some appointments of the Ennahda movement and the Nidaa Tounes party."
Al-Ajbouni believes that the two parties that ruled the country after the revolution were characterized by the same mentality of "booty and penetration of the administration," but believes that the appointments that took place after the revolution "do not exceed a few thousand, and among about 660,<> government employees, they cannot disrupt the administration as the president claims."
"It is another imaginary battle that the president fabricates to comment on his failure to change the Tunisian reality for the better," he said, noting that Saied recently appointed Ahmed Hachani as the new prime minister to assign him a key task related to what the president calls "purging the administration of infiltrators."
The leader of the Democratic Current Party believes that the Tunisian president with this decision will increase the confusion of the administration, and will deepen the state of paralysis that has afflicted it for a long time, considering that the revision of laws that restrict the work of the administration is the only salvation in order to advance development in the country, which is experiencing stagnation at all levels.
On the other hand, says political activity Ahmed Kahlawi to the island net that President Kais Saied "known for his integrity and integrity and does not seek his decisions to distract public opinion or political review, but seeks to reform the administration and purify and move the wheel."
"There is no harm in the president's review of appointments after the revolution, which saw the administration flooded with suspicious appointments based on partisan loyalties at the expense of public money," he said, mainly accusing Ennahda and parties close to it of "employing their supporters" during their rule.
After the fall of former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's regime on January 14, 2011, Ennahda won its first elections and was a key player in successive governments in the country, and its opponents accuse it of appointing its supporters, who received general legislative amnesty, to government positions in all ministries.
"No one denies that the past decade has witnessed many abuses in terms of compensation or jobs assigned to loyalties," al-Kahlawi said, stressing that scrutiny of appointments to government jobs "will do justice to those who have the right to redress and hold accountable those who do not have the right to secondment."
It was not possible to obtain official statements from any leader of the Renaissance movement about the accusations against it, and did not disclose the movement for its position yet in an official statement on the president's decision, while the leader of the Renaissance Sami Tariqi told Al Jazeera Net that the movement has not yet crystallized its position.