Tunis – Tunisia’s powerful UGTT trade union confederation said on Monday it would not take part in a national dialogue proposed by President Kais Saied, arguing that it excludes key actors and civil society.
Saied sacked the government last July before dissolving parliament and seizing control of the judiciary, in moves opponents called a coup against the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings.
The president has consistently excluded political parties from any dialogue, despite domestic and overseas calls for a more inclusive process.
On Friday, Saied appointed a loyalist law professor to head a body charged with rewriting the constitution for a “new republic” through a “national dialogue”.
The UGTT was named as one of several unions and other national bodies invited to take part, while no political parties were named.
But in a statement on Monday, the union said it “will not take part in any national dialogue under the format proposed” by Saied.
It said the format “was not discussed beforehand and doesn’t meet national forces’ demands for a patriotic process to find a way out of the crisis”.
Saied had announced in early May the establishment of a long-awaited “national dialogue” – at the same time attacking the political elite, which he accuses of having plundered the country.
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