Tunisia’s President Kais Saied announced he will outlaw foreign funding for civil society organisations as he tries to remake the country’s politics after establishing one-man rule.
Civil society organisations, including some that have had funding from Western democracies, have played a significant role in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution that introduced democracy.
“Non-governmental organisations must be prevented from accessing external funds… and we will do that,” Saied said, saying the change was needed to stop foreign interference in the country.
Last summer Saied suspended the elected parliament and assumed executive power before brushing aside the constitution to say he will rule by decree during an interim period.
This month he also moved against the country’s judiciary, seen as the last significant Tunisian institution of state still able to act as a check on his power, by dissolving the top judicial council.
Saied has justified his acts as necessary to save Tunisia from years of political and economic stagnation that came to a head last year amid protests during a COVID-19 spike. He has denied having dictatorial ambitions.
Reporting by Tarek Amara, writing by Angus McDowall, Editing by William Maclean
Photo – Tunisia’s President Kais Saied (R) . EPA-EFE/JOHN THYS / POOL