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tv   Inside Story  LINKTV  July 28, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PDT

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>> this is al jazeera and these other top stories. ready for elections i day after the president dismissed the prime minister and parliament. but they worry against an autocratic machine. joe biden says all federal workers could be required to be vaccinated against covid. cases continue to climb, driven by the dell kent varient and vaccination rates are leveled off at lower than 50%.
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mandatory vaccinations for federal workers would impact millions of people. reporter: some states have already introduced a vaccine mandate. new york city and california have introduced vaccine mandates. in both areas, the mandate is there but at the same time no action will be taken against workers who refuse to be vaccinated. but it will be difficult for them, even that they would have to agree to very regular testing and wear a mask whenever indoors and in contact with the public. mark: the wto is discussing this at their meeting in geneva. many countries are calling property rights. it is sponsored by the u.k. idu. -- and eu.
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emotional testimony from police officers present on january 6 in washington dc at the capital insurrection. a former close ally of pope francis is on trial for elected financial crimes. he and others are accused of money laundering and extortion and embezzlement. monsoon brands -- monsoon rains in bangladesh have killed at least to six people in a refugee camp. it is home to refugees from myanmar. most victims are children. those of the headlines. the news considers -- the news continues after inside story. goodbye. ♪
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>> could tunisia fall under a new dictatorship? the president insists he acted lawfully when he sacked the prime minister and put a freeze on parliament. the biggest political party is calling for dialogue, so where does this leave tunisia's young democracy? this is inside story. ♪ hello and welcome to the program . tunisia is often held up as the only success story of the arab spring but 10 years on and its democracy is looking fragile. president kai syed has defended sacking the prime minister and suspending parliament for 30
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days. he says he acted lawfully under the constitution. he's also imposed a nighttime curfew and banned public gatherings. tunisia's biggest political party enada is calling for a national dialogue to get out of the crisis. while some celebrated the president's decisions others a warning of a return to authoritarianism. laura burton manley reports the -- reports. laura: the near empty streets of chinese are a stark contrast to days of protests. under a strict curfew, many have not dared to face the army which is now patrolling tunisia's parliament and government buildings. the country's biggest political group the anata party has called for dialogue and accused the president of a to. -- a coup. >> we reject these unconstitutional announcements and we welcome all the rejections that have come from most other tunisian political parties as well as civil society
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organizations, and we call on the tunisian people to be calm and vigilant, and be ready to defend their democracy. laura: many came to the streets in celebration and outrage at president kai saeed's bold move , firing the prime minister and freezing the parliament for a month. president saeed says his decision was taken after following the process laid out in the constitution. >> i have taken responsibility i am taking a historic responsibility. those who claim this matter is related to a coup need to revise their lessons in the constitution. laura: president saeed, who controls the armed forces, made a stark warning against anyone taking up arms, saying the biggest danger a nation can face is internal explosion. the dismissed prime minister hishen mushishi says he will not
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be a disruptive element. he will hand power to whoever the president chooses. >> like the tunisian street, the parliament is also divided today between the majority leading parties in the department like -- and karama coalition who called and described the the decision of the president as a constitutional dictatorship who are against his decisions . tunisia's democracy is having its biggest test today. laura: there were also fears of a crackdown on the freedom of press after security forces stormed al jazeera's buildings . it's a move al jazeera has strongly condemned. the president's move had followed mass protests with much of the anger directed at the party for its handling of the economy and a raging pandemic . others fear it's an unconstitutional power grab that could lead to a dictatorship. a move that would see the end to the jasmine revolution that paved the way to a decade of
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democracy. laura for inside story. bernard: let's bring in our guests. joining us from tunis is tariq kalaui, a history professor at the mediterranean school of business and he's also a political analyst on tunisia . from washington, d.c., sarah yerkes, a senior fellow in carnegie's middle east program . and from bursa in turkey, sally yassen, a fellow at the ostrom workshop at the indiana university bloomington. a warm welcome to you all sarah -- a warm welcome to all of you. sarah, if i can begin with you, you were tweeting earlier what to watch out for as this pans out if the president grabs more power we're looking at a coup we should keep an eye on the reaction of the security forces should keep an eye on other arab states. is this not really though just a
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coup in slow motion? sarah: it looks like a coup. i think if you read the constitution that the president is using to justify his actions it very clearly states that he needs to consult the prime minister and the speaker of parliament before taking these emergency actions, which he did not do. so i think it's very hard for him to say that this is not a coup and i think you know we're still these things are still unfolding we need to keep watching what else he does, if he does put a new government in power very quickly, then maybe we can back off from that but right now i think it clearly looks like a coup. >> if this move keeps tunisia stable and furthermore if it promises a certain level of prosperity in the long run, the
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u.s. and europe might just be satisfied with what they have . bernard: is that what they are worried about? they all seem to be giving the president time. >> i have to disagree a little bit with sarah what she said earlier. what might make this a coup really is if the president would go beyond the 30 days. clearly he has an interpretation that is very problematic i would say of clause 80. he grabbed a lot of power but this is not really a traditional military co.. some people are basically comparing this to what happened to egypt or turkey which is not exactly the tunisian context so
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that is the first point. in might become a coup but for right now it has not even established a government that would be the solution. the main question that will have controversy is if it goes beyond 30 days for closing down parliament. but we have to put things in context. clearly we're not dealing with a regular traditional established liberal democracy. we're talking about democracy that is still incomplete, major basic institutions were not completed, especially the constitutional court, and really the responsibility lays on political parties, the political elite, including and especially which was one of the main
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parties since 2011 and you know the constitutional court would have been established by 2015 as the tunisian constitution says but another is responsible among other major political parties but certainly it's the main party that is responsible for not basically the constitution . bernard: we will touch on the maturity of tunisia's democracy later on. sarah, the x prime minister also seems now willing to give way and wait. why has he done this so easily and willingly? sarah i think in part because of : the this idea of stability that we are talking about. i don't think he has much to gain from trying to fight this i think between all the various measures that the president has laid out including the curfew
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including travel bans, i mean i am sure the prime minister's not happier former prime minister is not happy but i do think it's in his interest to just kind of quietly step down and see where things play out. >> throughout his campaign kai , syed propagated for direct democracy and even after his campaign throughout his speeches he was often very critical and skeptical of political parties , particularly the islamist ones, which he considered as barriers you know for his direct engagement with the citizens or for him to be able to represent the general will. so he had some ideas about direct democracy and he even occasionally referenced talk . however we did not see any concrete action on his side to
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be able to implement what he had in his mind. also consider that he is an outsider unlike the late president who perhaps had some network relationships inside the bureaucracy. coming as an outsider, he will most likely need the support of individuals whom he may share some ideological affinity with or may not share an ideological community with, so even if he tries to consolidate power, it will eventually lead to forming new coalitions between government and bureaucracy. bernard: later on we will touch on the state of tunisian democracy. how significant are the differences between the religious and secular parties
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? are they being amplified by outside forces? >> one of the main ways of looking is this dichotomy between islamist and secular parties and the idea that the consensus between secular and islamist party is going to resolve problems that is going to establish liberal democracy in tunisia, but you know the consensus that was basically agreed upon between anaheim the main secular party after the 2014 elections led to what we can call and what many tunisians call a corrupt kind of democracy , democracy that is based on the consensus of individuals, especially leaders. add to that is that there is no economic and social delivery .
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there was power and alliance that they did not deliver. the law in 2017 that gives the general amnesty to people who were with the old regime during the despotic times and basically establishing an unjust form of of resolving the old problems of the despotic times. that was perceived by many tunisians as basically giving a free card to people who work a lot -- people who were corrupt. and this is the 2019 elections was a yellow card for the political elite and they think much of the political elite , especially did not get the point did not see how people are really frustrated with what's happening, giving way for outsiders and what we may call even populists for different sides including side but because i think is a populist leaning to the left rather than uh to the right and emphasizing
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anti-corruption policies and things like that. another went on into the traditional consensual tactics and emphasizing this bridge between secular and islamists and missing the whole point that much of the public is not really interested in these identity politics, it's more interested in economic social problems and especially corruption, and i think after almost two years of the elections what we have seen in the streets was the right context that took that opportunity and established his rule and we're going to see now he's going to lay down a road map that we might talk a little bit about it later. bernard: ok. sarah, has consensus been the problem? i mean with consensus there's been no real opposition has there to check on to act as a check on the government.
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sarah: absolutely. none of the parties in tunisia have been able to actually deliver on the most important thing right now which is economic progress and economic prosperity. even before the pandemic started , tunisians were many changes weren't able to feed themselves you know the economic situation for them was decreasing, particularly in the marginalized areas. i'm very skeptical that president saeed by consolidating power in his own hands or even if he appoints a new government , i'm not sure you know within 30 days that this government's going to be able to do what they need to do in order to bring tunisia out of this economic crisis, let alone the health crisis. bernard: afro barometer survey found 81% of tunisians do not feel close to any political
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party. how does the president move forward when that is the view tunisians have of the current state of their democracy, their political parties. >> he was critical of the political parties and political class in general and i think this his view overlapped with tunisians disillusionment with political parties overall, and i will also cite an arab parameter study from 2018 where about 90 percent of tunisians consider individuals in national institutions to be corrupt, to engage in corruption, so president kaiser skillfully built upon this perception and kept his campaign and kept his momentum on build being an outsider. tunisians right now blame con for for whether right or wrong many tunisians attribute the country's current ills current shortcomings on the political class on the ruling elite and
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kai saeed strategy is now is to continue placing him as an outsider to this political class . but as we see in the next 30 years or so at least this , substantive portion of the population has given him some credit we will see in the next 30 years, 30 days, sorry, whether he can deliver or not if he can deliver perhaps he can keep his momentum however if he fails to do so his popularity we might er he might drop substantially. bernard: does the president need to promise to continue democracy? or to promise that he will fix the basic needs that people have? >> until now, publicly he's not denouncing democracy, i think he is denouncing liberal democracy.
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basically rejecting a kind of radical democracy but his road map will not be about that. it will be about the presidential system. he's going to push for a road map that would include certainly a referendum on the political system in tunisia, which is semi-parliamentarian, which gives more floor to political parties so he's going to push for a referendum on the political system, he's going to push for the presidential system and he's going to push for a change in the electoral law that is going to basically push for individualists again weakening a little bit political parties but ♪ -- bernard: that is going to take more than 30 days. >> what we are talking about is
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not 30 days window. it will take beyond 30 days to see if parliament opens again or not. sarah: he does not want the parliamentary system. he has set all along that he wants to get rid of parliament. so i'm very skeptical that after 30 days or within 30 days he's going to suddenly say, okay parliament can return. it's the same people an institution he doesn't like. maybe we will see if there is a referendum but the way he is doing it is not democratic. if he wants to change the system, there's a process you know, you do this through the
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government, you don't decide you're going to suddenly take all the power for yourself and then declare that this is the system you want to have. bernard: why can it just bring the relief they are looking for? sarah: if you look at history in tunisia and globally the way , that you have better governance, that you have better services, the way that you actually get people the things they need is through good governance, through better governance. it's not through consolidating power and authoritarianism it didn't work for tunisia under banali, it's not going to work for tunisia now. the roadmap he wants to put forward is not the way to help deliver for the people. bernard: the way it is happening
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in tunisia is not the way it pans out in egypt. our tunisians looking at egypt? are they worried that it could become a coup as bloody and as brutal as egypt went through? >> they are different countries with different institutions. i think the answer would depend on whom you talk to in tunisia and i think many nafta supporters are rightfully fearful right now because this is one of their worst fears you know, to be excluded from the system in a way that they cannot claim their word, so but for uh
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other tunisians i think some of them are hopeful as we saw in the streets. some a indifferent and others may be nervous. you cannot put all tunisiansn the same category when you conser perspectives towards their future but a certain portion of tunisian pulation is hopeful of getting rid of the so-called political class and only time will tell. bernard: tunisia is a different society from egypt. but do people look at how it pans out there? the economy is expected to grow 5% i the end of the year in egypt. >> certainly there is a section of the tunisian population who sees stability and they can
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perceive prosperity which is not totally accurate. but it's not about comparisons or being impressed by what is happening in egypt. it's by being basically disillusioned by what's happening in tunisia, that's the main problem. the majority of tunisians are still favorable for democratic institutions i think so many people who went to the streets july 25 and celebrated in the night the decisions of kade sadie -- kai saeed were not basically did not have a problem with democracy but they have a problem with a kind of democracy they see it as corrupt they see it as a kind of democracy that closed down politics within consensual closed rooms and did not really establish the main
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problems of tunisians. they did not see the political class expressing their main worries and that's why they they they have a problem with that kind of democracy not with freedom. but kia's aids government -- kai saeed's government will start with economic, social, and health challenges. they will be given some time by the population. i would say 60 or 90 days for people to watch what will happen. it is basically in the interest of him and his new government to do major quick steps.
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agreement with the will be critical. the government needs to have imf agreement soon. bernard: unfortunately, we are out of time but thank you to all of our guests and thank you as well for watching. you can see this and all our programs again anytime by visiting our website aljazeera.com, and for more debate go to our facebook page . you can also join us on twitter. goodbye for now. ♪
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