The powerful UGTT says it will oppose Kais Saied’s reforms and defend freedom ‘at all costs’.
Tunisia’s powerful trade union has given its clearest opposition to President Kais Saied, rejecting his political and economic demands and saying it will not tolerate what it says is a threat to democracy.
“We no longer accept the current method because of its ignorance and personal control, and the unpleasant surprises that hide the future of the country and democracy,” Noureddine Taboubi, leader of the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), said in a speech. to thousands of followers on Saturday.
“We will not hesitate to defend rights and freedoms at any cost,” he said.
Saied closed the elected parliament last year and decided to rule by law before writing a new law that was passed mid-year in a narrowly attended referendum, setting up elections for a new, weakened parliament.
Opponents of the president have criticized his actions as a coup d’état and have repeatedly staged street protests. Saied said what he did was necessary to save Tunisia.
The parliamentary vote is expected to take place on December 17, but many political parties are boycotting the election, which violates the procedures ordered by the president, including the establishment of an election management committee.
Other electoral changes such as the end of campaign finance will also make it harder for women to run, the US-based Human Rights Watch warned.
Taboubi, on Saturday, described the vote as “without color and taste,” and the result of a law that does not enjoy international cooperation.
Despite repeatedly voicing concerns, the million-member union has refused to publicly oppose the president’s actions, other than a mid-year strike over pay and funding cuts.
The new government elected by Saied in October recently angered the UGTT by deciding to cut aid and restructure state-owned companies, demanding an IMF bailout to avoid a national bailout.
Last month, the organization summoned a large number of people to the Sfax area, just a day after a protester died after being fired with tear gas to disperse protests against the reopening of the landfill.
It wanted the perpetrators to be held accountable.
The UGTT has confirmed that it can halt the economy and strike that has closed airports, public transport, ports and government offices.