August 4, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9479

Tunisian Blogger Barnat: Tunisian President Kais Saied Is Immersed In 'Now Obsolete' Pan-Arabism; The Next President Should Be Anti-Islamist Abir Moussi

August 4, 2021
North Africa | Special Dispatch No. 9479

Tunisian blogger Rachid Barnat wrote in a post on his Facebook page that in Tunisia there are increased calls for Abir Moussi, president of the anti-Islamist Free Destourian Party and Tunisian MP, to head the Tunisian government,[1] after Tunisian President Kais Saied's firing of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and suspension of parliamentary activity late last month.[2] However, he said, Moussi and Saied are too ideologically divergent – Moussi is a Destourian, is a follower of the legacy of the secular Tunisian prime minister and president Habib Bourguiba (1956-87), while Saied is a follower of pan-Arabism, which Barnat calls "now obsolete."

According to Barnat, Moussi should wait for the next elections and then run for president. He added that Moussi is more useful in the parliament supporting laws that are now vital to extricate the country from the impasse caused by Rachid Ghannouchi, chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Ennahda Party.

Below is Barnat's post: [3]

Kais Saied, Abir Moussi (Source: Kapitalis)

'Kais Saied Has Repeatedly Shown His Disdain For Abir Moussi'

"I see, here and there, calls for [Free Destourian Party president and Tunisian MP] Abir Moussi to be the [new] head [of the Tunisian] government, to replace [former prime minister] Hichem Mechichi, who has just been dismissed by [Tunisian President] Kais Saied!

"It's tempting to give in to this aspiration, but a lot of things separate Abir Moussi from Kais Saied, starting with the ideologies that motivate them.

"First, [Abir Moussi] is a Destourian, a pure product of Bourguibism, and the other [Saied] has been immersing himself in pan-Arabism, which is now obsolete, since the failure of pan-Arabism in [countries] that experienced it, such as Egypt, Iraq, Syria...

"- Kais Saied will certainly appeal to his pan-Arab friends, whose ideological proximity to the pan-Islamists is known.

"- Abir Moussi wants a strong, centralized state, while Kais Saied wants pyramidal power emanating from the people – this is utopian!

"- Not to mention the personal incompatibility between these two [Saied and Moussi]: Kais Saied has repeatedly shown his disdain for Abir Moussi, appearing to completely ignore her!

At This Time, Moussi Is 'More Useful' In Parliament

"If Abir Moussi and the Free Destourian Party share the Tunisians' jubilation in watching Kais Saied upend the game of [Ennahda Party chairman] Rashid Ghannouchi, it would be prudent for her to save [her energy to run for] president of the Republic in the next elections... This does not prevent the Free Destourian Party from supporting the reforms that Kais Saied intends to carry out!

"[At this time,] she, along with the parliamentary group of the Free Destourian Party, will be more useful in proposing and supporting laws that have become essential to extricate the country from the rut in which Ghannouchi and his stooges have mired it!"

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