Qatar-linked journalists attack Tunisia’s Kais Saied a year after singing his praises

Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Fethi Belaid/Pool via Reuters)

Several Qatari-linked journalists have been criticized for attacking Tunisia’s President Kais Saied after singing his praises less than a year ago, a move some observers say is linked to recent developments within Tunisian politics against Islamist parliament speaker Rached Ghannouchi.

Among those who have changed their tunes on Saied since his election last October is Al Jazeera Arabic’s Ahmed Mansour, who tweeted on October 14, 2019, that “the great people of Tunisia are celebrating in all its sects over the presidential win of Kais Saeed … Thank you to the great people of Tunisia and soon we will celebrate in Egypt the fall of this foolish tyrant from the throne in Egypt.

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Nine months later, Mansour tweeted: “The Tunisian people have received shock after another from President Kais Saied, so is it sufficient to choose a president that you know nothing about but that he speaks the Arabic language and embellishes his words to achieve your aspirations?” His July 26 tweet was accompanied with a photo showing Saied with Tunisian Interior Minister Hichem Mechichi after he appointed the latter as the country's new prime minister.

The anti-Saied sentiment was also evident among other Al Jazeera Arabic presenters, with controversial firebrand talk show host Faisal Qassim similarly tweeting: “When you elect a president who knows nothing but to speak in classical Arabic, you will only derive from him stylized words.”

Tunisian Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh stepped down on July 15 with sources telling Reuters that Saied had asked him to do so as momentum grew in parliament to oust the prime minister over an alleged conflict of interest.

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Tunisia's parliament speaker narrowly survived a confidence vote on Thursday, but his slim margin of victory may only deepen the country's political divisions after the resignation of the prime minister.

Some 97 members of parliament voted against Rached Ghannouchi, veteran leader of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, falling short of the 109 needed to oust him.

However, with Ennahda and the conservative Karama party boycotting the vote to show their opposition to the motion, only 16 Members of Parliament gave him formal support.

-With Reuters

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Last Update: Friday, 31 July 2020 KSA 09:19 - GMT 06:19
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