Demonstration against Moncef Marzouki visit to Paris, April 12th 2013 | AFP/KENZO TRIBOUILLARD

Tunisian Secularists Submit Motion of no-confidence in President Marzouki “the Innovator of Democracy”

marzouki-linvention-dune-democratieIt doesn’t take too much reflection to see that faith in the future of democracy in Tunisia began to dwindle, as people began to realize that the leaders they elected to run the government care little about their welfare. The new book of the President of Tunisia Marzouki, The Invention of Democracy: The Lessons of the Tunisian Experience (L’invention d’une démocratie, les leçons de l’expérience tunisienne), might have little chance to restore faith in the democracy project under the leadership of Troika.

During his presentation of the book at l’Institut Du Monde Arabe, Marzouki was criticized by the audience since the Tunisian president has preferred a French publisher for his book. «Boycott Marzouki’s latest book, published in France, in total disregard of the Tunisian publishers. Unacceptable! Do not become complicit in this anti-national act committed by the alleged Tunisian Head of State.” Read one of the messages from Art Libris.

Demonstrators held banners holding Marzouki responsible of “The Invention of Dictatorship” since he is widely seen as a pawn of the Islamist Ennahda. Despite now worsening economic conditions, the ongoing attack on freedom of expression, the rise of religious extremism, this, combined with increasing political polarization and uncertainty, Marzouki describes Tunisia’s transition experience a success.

The book chronicles some of the events that have shaped the life of Marzouki as a human rights activist and his experience as a president of Tunisia following the elections of October 2011. The book also tackles the socio- economic challenges that the Arab Spring countries have faced with a focus on the Tunisian democratic transition. Much of the controversy was stirred by the choice of the French language by a fervent advocate of the Arabic language and the preference of a French publisher rather than a local one.

Representatives of Tunisia’s Constituent Assembly introduced Wednesday a no-confidence motion in President Moncef Marzouki -a move sparked in protest against the declarations of President Marzouki at his recent visit to Qatar. Marzouki told Al Jazeera television last month that if “secular extremists” came to power, they could spark a bloody revolution in which they would be hanged.

The opposition’s bold initiative is unlikely to pass because Marzouki can count on majority support from Ennahda and the two secular parties; Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol.

Tunisia Ben Ali Son-in-law Granted Asylum in Seychelles

sakh-matri-Nesrine-benaliThe government of Seychelles has granted asylum Businessman Sakher El Materi, The son-in-law of Tunisia’s former president Ben Ali. El Materi‘s luxurious lifestyle in Tunisia came to end when he fled Tunisia for Qatar after the uprising that ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.

The former strongman’s son in law was convicted of corruption in absentia months later. El Materi, along with his wife and their three children, have now been granted a 12-month residence permit in the Seychelles, according to its immigration department. The Seychelles, a great place for overcoming homesickness as the Indian Ocean archipelago was a regular holiday destination for the former president and his close family.

Tunisia: Release TV Station Director

free--Sami-FehriHuman Rights Watch has called for the release of Sami Fehri, the director of the privately owned Attounissia TV channel, since Highest Court Issues Third Decision to free him. The court had quashed the detention order twice previously, on November 28 and December 5, 2012, but officials refused to release him.

“The authorities are showing utter disregard for the law by keeping Sami Fehri locked up.” Deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch Eric Goldstein pointed out. Human Rights Watch’s statement said that the decision by the Court of Cassation should result in Fehri’s immediate release since it confirmed that the authorities have no further legal basis to detain him.

Sami Fehri, the head of TV channel Ettounsiya, was arrested 8 months ago for an alleged corruption case dating back to the era of toppled president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. Fehri contends, however that the satirical television programme, which began last year and had focused particularly on members of the Tunisian government and its ruling Ennahda party was the real reason for his arrest.

Chokri Belaid Assassination: New Developments

FILES-TUNISIA-POLITICS-UNREST-OPPOSITIONThe Tunisian government issued images of 5 suspects wanted in connection with the February assassination of a secular opposition politician Chokri Belaid. “We ask all citizens to contribute to the search for the main suspect and the rest of those involved in the assassination of the martyr Shokri Belaid,” the interior ministry said in statement last Saturday.

Police sources had earlier revealed that those behind the killing were adherents of the Salafist movement. The Salafists have been blamed for almost every violent incident in the past few months. No one has claimed responsibility so far.

Belaid’s murder has dramatically raised political tensions in the already fragile emerging democracy. Today, there is a growing disenchantment with violence and bloodshed as means of achieving political ends.

Tunisia‘s Grand Mufti: Fighting in Syria is not Jihad

As more Tunisian youth have joined the war against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Tunisia’s government-appointed grand mufti Othman Battikh said that “fighting in Syria is not Jihad”.

Othman-Battikh-Mufti-TunisiaIn a press conference Friday, Tunisia‘s Grand Mufti said: “Syrians are Muslims. Muslims are prohibited from fighting each other. Sexual jihad is rather a disguised prostitution.” He also appealed to girls not to be influenced by Islamic “charismatic” preachers outside of Tunisia who, it has been reported, made a number of ‘sexual fatwas’.

Battikh called upon the Tunisian authorities to join forces to stem the tide of jihad onto the Syrian battlefield which he described as foreign and dangerous to the Tunisian society which has always been moderate.

Extremist groups and their networks have flourished in Tunisia as the government failed to tackle the growing menace of extremist ideologies. “Flirting” with radical forces is creating a dangerous political and security situation in Tunisia. The challenge for Tunisia’s current leadership is now clearly to secure a stable environment in which the rule of law would reign supreme.