PES stands with Tunisians in defence of democracy

Tunisia - rally

12 May 2024 - a demonstration takes place in the Tunisian capital to demand free and fair presidential elections in the country. According to the Tunisian Electoral Authority, presidential elections are due to take place in the north African country between September and October 2024, but the exact date has not yet been announced. Photo: via ZUMA Press Wire

The protest held in Tunis this weekend is a call from citizens to protect democracy against reforms by President Kais Saied’s regime. The Party of European Socialists (PES) stands in full solidarity with those standing up for their rights.
Since entering office in 2019, President Saied has eliminated nearly all institutional checks and balances on executive power and has ordered arbitrary arrests targeting journalists, lawyers, activists, and opponents.
The PES condemns the arbitrary arrests made by Tunisian authorities over the past years, including the arrest of social democratic political figures – such as former deputy secretary general of FDTL Ettakatol, Khayam Turki, co-founder and deputy general secretary of the Democratic Current – Ghazi Chaouachi, and secretary general of the Progressive Democratic Party Issam Chebbi – Tunisian lawyer Sonia Dahmani under pretend accusations of “conspiracy against state security”.
PES Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck said:

“We call for the immediate release of imprisoned journalists, activists and opposition figures who have been arrested under false accusations. The right to a fair trial is a fundamental right and every person should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
We continue to support our observer member party, the Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties (FDTL ETTAKATOL), and the social democratic forces in the country to pursue their objectives of restoring democratic values in the country.
Separation of powers, media freedom and freedom of expression are essential pillars to any democracy, it is of utmost importance that Tunisia restores and safeguards these pillars. Tunisia’s presidential elections, which are expected to be held by October this year, constitute a vital turning point in this regard.”

Last April, Italian Prime Minister Meloni signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tunisian President Kais Saied. Italy will pay €100 million aimed at boosting economic development and curbing irregular migration to Italy. President Kais Saied has been accused of systematic human rights violations targeting migrants, expelling them into the desert without food and water.

Throwing money at regimes that don’t respect fundamental rights is not migration management! We must revise the deals with Tunisia. We are strongly against the externalisation of migration management. This is against the fundamental rights Europe is built on.  The EU must always work for the humane management of migration, working with partner countries that guarantee conditions and procedures that are fair and fully respect human rights.