tv Inside Story LINKTV September 28, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PDT
>> hello again. i am here with the headlines on al jazeera. the u.s. government is facing another shutdown by the end of the week. congress has until friday to find a solution. reporter: this is not just about paying federal employees. this is the entire government and the u.s. defaulting on debt and bonds. so this has implications not just for the u.s., but for the
global economy, and it could be a disaster. >> japanese social democrats have claimed victory. they say they are in talks with the free green party. the general assembly of the u.n. has been stalled. comments came after an unidentified projectile was flown into the sea of japan. military and civilian factions in sudan, accusing the military of trying to seize power. the u.k. secretary says instructions from the ministry of defense -- a shortage of truck drivers have led to days
of long lines at fuel pumps. power cuts in northern china because of tightening emissions standards. they are dependent on coal for power but a plan to cut climate change and gas. r. kelly has been found guilty of sex and racketeering charges after a trial in new york. the jury has found him guilty on all charges. 11 accusers testified against him and several victims said they were underaged at the time. he will be sentenced in may and faces decades behind bars. those of the headlines. up next, inside story. stay with us. ♪
>> this year's political crisis is deepening. can the nation return to authoritarianism? this is inside story. ♪ hello and welcome to the program. 10 years ago, protests pushed a leader from power and what was the start of the arab spring. now some worry the country could return to authoritarianism. thousands have rallied for the second time since the president seized executive power in july.
parliament has been suspended, saying it was needed to fix tunisia's problems and he has decided to rule by decree. a small number of supporters have held a rival protest. we will bring in our guests in a moment, but first, this report. reporter: under a police present, crowds gathered in tunisia to protest against the president. anger has grown since july when parliament was suspended and the prime minister was fired. two months later, there is no parliament, no prime minister, and the people say no plan to improve their lives. >> he is acting like he is the sun that rises on the country, the president, parliament, the government. he is acting like he is everything. the tunisian people do not want him. >> president saeed says his
actions were needed to address stagnation and poor response to coronavirus. his critics are calling it a coup. he tightened his grip of power on wednesday, announcing he would rule by decree and ignore parts of the constitution. but that constitution was a hard-fought product in the 2011 revolution that started the arab spring. a lopressor -- a law professor says he calls this a the trail of democracy. >> we need to go back to rule of law. we are the democracy and no one has the right to break the system. >> tunisia's largest political party is in a crisis of its own. more than 100 party officials announced their resignation on saturday, accusing leadership of failing to counter sayyid's
actions. >> it is clear the politicians did not understand the huge psychological impact of the july decision and the 113 people that resigned yesterday were in conflict with the president months before july. >> local and international human rights groups have condemned the power grab. there have also been demonstrations in of the president. sayyid has promised to uphold people's rights but there is still fears of a return to absolute one-man rule. ♪ >> let's bring in our guest, an
independent politician and former secretary of state. and a professor of media at a university. and a lawyer and political activist. i welcome you all. mel, you are on the show a week ago. you were a politician and have since resigned. why? >> very briefly, two reasons mentioned in the letter of resignation. we have been trying for years to reform the party for better governance to have a democracy. we were against the monopoly of
power inside the party and for many political choices, i personally have been in a trend of wanting reform since 2016. so we have to admit today that we failed in reforming the party . the second thing is the choices taken by the other party, the political choices, we admit we were part of those choices because we were inside the party so we assume some of the responsibility. those choices have led to what we saw july 25. so now they cannot get involved
against the danger of dictatorship coming quickly in tunisia. >> have you given up completely? have you destroyed any internal pressure you put on sayyid by being a member of the party? you have given up. >> we have not given up. we have fought for a long time and even after july 25, we did our best and asked the official leadership of the party to move a little bit so that a new leadership takes its turn in leading the party. we asked for a change in the executive board but received no
response to what the party needs. so i think we did not give up easily, we did our best for a long time. and even after the coup, we did our best to change for the best, but no one listened. >> when mass resignations like this happen from a ruling party, two things happen. the ruling party becomes weaker or it can become stronger because one man consolidates power. what do you think will happen? >> i think it weakens the
opposition to sayyid. i cannot judge what is happening . i hope they find a way to arrange things, but in my mind, i think it weakens the opposition. >> if it does, what does it mean in practical terms for the protest movement, the ones who want to come out on the streets? will we see more or less of that because there is no effective opposition? >> i want to emphasize i spent three parts of my life opposing -- so when i say it weakens the opposition, it is just for me
and objective fact. it is hard to say. we will see how things go. but the more we have movement, the more we have division. he ruled tunisia for 23 years because the opposition was divided. >> is the opposition divided now? >> i would like to interact a little bit with your guest in terms of weakening the opposition. does anyone today in the
political spectrum willing to collaborate with nata? after july 25, it is fluctuating. nothing is clear. so i think we have tried to change things and we have this image in front of the political class that they have changed. today we are talking about nata than i do not want to focus too much on that but that is not the only one responsible for the bad image that led to the 25th of july. so people today, even the
political class, they say the responsibility lies in the leadership for what happens in the country. >> we will bring you in in one moment. thank you for being so patient with us. >> i respect what you are saying but the fact is, he asked if it weakens the opposition, and i said yes. i am not judging what you are doing and there are a people i appreciate who have retired. i do not share the ideology, but i do respect them. i was not judging you saying was
wrong or right. but the question was, does it weaken the opposition, i said yes. >> let's bring in the professor of -- at the university of qatar. will this be a consult -- consolidation of power by sayyid? >> to make a quick comment from what i have heard from my colleagues in tunisia, certainly the issue is much bigger in my view than a nata itself. it has its own problems in terms of governing from within and being in the government for the last 10 years or whatever, although the direct impact on the government was little. the fact that over 100 members
resigned two days ago is a real issue but my opinion is no other political party running big government in tunisia during the democratic opposition would have found it easy to succeed in leading tunisia to proper democracy. i think that forces in and out of the country are humongous and this is why, for example, one was challenged very much. and the government afterwards. and then you have successive governments for the last 10 years have found it tough to implement the vision they wanted. interference of some external powers is very well-known. external funding is very well known.
>> it sounds like you are justifying sayyid's actions. are you? >> absolutely not. i considered the move on july 25 a coup of the constitution of tunisia. the abc across -- of democracy across the world says no political leader, a prime minister or head of state, should be able to do what else sayyid has done to tunisian politics. constitutions around the world are sacred and ratified by the people i know when the leader -- no one leader should marginalize it. what he did was totally wrong and a recipe for dictatorship. since july 25, sayyid has been reinforcing his view, first to marginalize the constitution,
and he recently on september 22 said it clearly that he is going to go back to the constitution of 1956. that is a very worrying signal to all political parties. and secondly, sayyid has been consolidating all the powers in his hands, leading the way to towards a formula of total rule, which is what we had in the last few decades. >> let's put that to our other guests. a recipe for a dictator. do you think that is the case, and if it is, how can you fight against it? what is your strategy now that you are not part of a political party? can you?
>> yes. let me first of all remind you that this is a political, democratic transition. what happened in tunisia happened elsewhere and all of the experience in the history of humankind in transitions and revolutions, we have these revolution and counterrevolution and this is the essence of the crisis itself, a little bit interrupting with your guest in doha. second now, the solution, if i continue with what i started, i did understand what your guest said concerning the weakening of the opposition. what happened yesterday and week
four is the beginning of this affair. one of the leaders of this movement has called september 18 -- >> i'm going to stop you because i wanted an answer from you in terms of strategy. as an independent politician, is your strategy to try to use civil protest to try to get sayyid out of power? what is your actual strategy. not the theory. >> at present, what we see is first of all getting involved as much as possible in any movement, virtual or real, in defending democracy and fighting against any possible return to dictatorship in tunisia.
i have been on facebook, on the streets since we started these movements and i think there is no other solution except giving a strong message that what sayyid calls the popular legitimacy has collapsed. if you do what you did on the 25th of july and 18th of september, -- i think the -- >> we are running out of time and i want to talk with the other guests. is this strategy going to play out well? civil disobedience. is there legal recourse?
what other strategies are therefore the opposition? >> it is two months since the crew -- coup. no doubt about that. since then, we saw the most serious demonstration yesterday. we may think tunisians are more or less powerless, but i want to remind you what happened is absolutely unimaginable. no one ever felt this would be possible. so i just want to remind you in may, there was a leak about the
coup in tunisia. we all laughed. i literally laughed about the top-secret document leaked from qatar. tunisia is a passive country. for much less than that in the u.s. at the end of trump's term, people took their firearms. in tunisia there was a moment of expectation but what we saw yesterday, is this the beginning of the real protest against else sayyid, and it is really not
violence and i believe the tunisian army will never shoot people on the street. >> the fact of the matter is, sayyid has a huge amount of political support still. he is still popular in parts of the country. so there is support for him. some guests are talking about civil disobedience as a way of dislodging him from power but with this level of political support, it is going to take more than protesting in the street. >> he does not have much political support. he diluted the electorates by giving lots of promises. -- deluded the electorates by
giving lots of promises. i do not think he has a lot of support. he has a lot of power. he is like donald trump, affecting the public through emotional appeals and so forth. i think civil action as called by the major political parties should continue and step up. it will change the picture. it will be the solution. i am glad they do not resort to the use of force in any form of changes, even during the dark times of the rally.
cited has been able to bring the army slightly near politics. july 25 sayyid used the army to block parliament and shut down the government itself and that is a very worrying sign. this has never happened in the history of tunisia. the constitution of tunisia has always kept the army neutral from political affiliation or involvement. the army in tunisia does not vote. now i think sayyid -- >> sorry, we have run out of time. i want to get a response. you are waiving your arms around when it comes to the army. -- waving your arms around when
it comes to the army. >> i do not agree with my friend. i cannot accept that the army put itself in the position of the constitutional court. the supreme leader of the army is the president of the republic. i am totally opposed to sayyid but i would never want the army to get involved in a constitutional issue because when it starts to do that, we will start to be ruled by the army. the army is there when people would be on the street. it will be neutral. it is a political issue. make your mind between party,