As political tensions rise and prices rise further, many Tunisians are losing hope and finding themselves short on cash. A large number of people are thinking about leaving. Still, others are gearing up for yet another round of demonstrations. There’s no hope left for Kais Alaoui. Since losing his employment at a hotel on the island of Djerba in 2020 due to the epidemic, the 47-year-old has been out of work.
His emergency fund is depleted, and even if he were to get employment in the hospitality industry once again, he would no longer earn sufficient income to pay his basic living expenses because of growing costs. He told DW that with the rising cost of living, the average salary of 500 Tunisian dinars ($155) was no longer sufficient. He put off his “dream of having a small family” for the time being. In its place, he sought employment opportunities overseas and will shortly be moving to Northern Ireland.
Even though he sees himself as relatively well-off, Mohamed Denguezli of Tunis cannot provide his family with adequate food. Significant shifts have occurred,
National Institute of Statistics, operated by the government, reports that food price inflation in August was close to 12%, the highest rate in three decades.
The father of the family is increasingly concerned about the future of his nation due to a shortage of sugar and oil and what Denguezli terms a “foggy political atmosphere.”
Many more Tunisians have considered leaving the country this year, despite not having a job contract or other secure means of funding their new lives overseas.
Around 13,500 Tunisians fled to Italy between January and September of 2022, according to a statement released by the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES). This represents a rise of 2,500, or 23%, from the previous year.
The FDA spokesman, Ramadan Ben Omar, is confident of who to blame. The rise in immigration to Europe is entirely the fault of the Tunisian government, and he told Reuters earlier this week.
The political overhaul of Tunisian President Kais Saied in advance of similarly contentious legislative elections in December 2022 has compounded the country’s already complex web of challenges.
The Boycott Movement
During the second year of his five-year presidency, which began in July 2021, Kaies Saied began governing by decree. He sacked the government, including the prime minister, and demolished democratic institutions, including the Supreme Judicial Council.
But afterward, Kais defended his actions, saying they were essential to breaking the political impasse, rooting out corruption, and “protecting the state from an impending risk.”
While initially popular with the public, his recent actions have drawn significant criticism from the political opposition.
The National Salvation Front, an opposition alliance opposing Saied’s administration, has called for a referendum boycott because the proposed new constitution will give the president even more authority. However, it was approved in July with 96% of voters saying “yes,” despite low participation of just 30%.
Low voter participation “reflects the lack of considerable public support for Saied,” according to Sami Hamdi, managing director of London-based analytical company The International Interest.
For the time being, though, Anthony Dworkin, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), disagrees: “Saied is by far the most popular and trustworthy political person in the nation,” he told DW.
Dworkin said, “many people appear to believe still that he would heed to their economic and social issues even if they have nowhere else to turn.”
He adds “little interest in Saied’s constitutional agenda” and that Saied “would be imprudent to presume that his support is guaranteed in the longer run.”
The strategy that might potentially cause harm.
On the eve of the parliamentary elections on December 17, Saied released a draft presidential order this Thursday. The National Salvation Front did, however, call for a boycott of the poll a day earlier.
Jawhar ben Mobarak, the chief coordinator of the National Salvation Front, told DW, “We are not recognizing illegal elections, as they constitute a distortion of the democratic process.”
His view is that the election is primarily used to “endorse the coup, and participation would signify favor of the coup.”
Meanwhile, foreign experts are still skeptical of the boycott’s effect.
The National Salvation Front’s support has considerably dwindled. Hamdi told DW that it “has not been successful in changing the minds of a public that continues to blame political parties for the catastrophe.”
The views of Dworkin are consistent with this. According to him, “the opposition’s approach is clear: wait for economic hardship to pull people away from Saied and the system he has established and force them onto the streets.” He made this statement to DW. “Waiting for the popular uproar is a hazardous tactic,” he says.
In the meanwhile, Mohamed Denguezli is entirely bleak. He told DW that many individuals he knows, even those in their latter years, are contemplating leaving the country.
“There is nothing more essential in life than having a secure environment to raise a family,” said most of those polled.