TUNIS: Around 20 global and Tunisian human rights groups on Saturday condemned a “power grab” by Tunisia’s president and warned of a slide back towards authoritarianism.

They “strongly denounce the decisions taken unilaterally by President Kais Saied, reaffirm their unwavering attachment to democratic principles and condemn the seizure of power and the lack of any form of safeguards.” Signatories to the statement included Amnesty International’s Tunisia section, Human Rights Watch, the Inter­national Commission of Jurists, and the Tunisian Network for Transitional Justice.

Their warning followed Saied’s announcement on Wednesday of decrees that strengthen the powers of his office at the expense of those of the prime minister and parliament, in the only democracy to have emerged from the Arab spring uprisings of a decade ago.

Saied’s action is “implicitly abrogating the constitutional order in... a first step towards authoritarianism,” the rights groups said.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2021

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