The IMF invites itself into Saied’s political kitchen, a first that will make noise




Tunisia’s main donor, the IMF (International Monetary Fund), has so far been careful not to interfere in the political cooking of the head of state, Kais Saied. The situation may be changing, according to the release of Jihad Azour, director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia department…

The emissary of the international institution, whose report is eagerly awaited by his boss, made an unprecedented foray this Thursday, June 23 into the local hubbub around the National Dialogue. After praising the excellent relations between the IMF and Tunisia – a bit of balm to convey what follows – he underlined the absolute necessity of dialogue with all the leading parties in Tunisia. He did not stop there, it was added, on a private radio, that this method has proven its effectiveness in the past…

Everyone will have understood that he is making a thinly veiled allusion to the National Dialogue of 2013, and therefore asked those who started it all, the UGTT (General Tunisian Labor Union). Its secretary general, Noureddine Taboubi, has to drink whey at the moment. Same for all those who hide behind him – Rached Ghannouchi, Abir Moussi and company – and who are getting tired of shouting in the desert…

Jihad Azour removed the nail by concluding that the IMF knows that it is essential that all the main actors take part in the reflection on the public thing, in the decision-making and that they endorse the responsibility for the measures which engage the whole community…

This is the first time that the IMF has ventured as far into the field as the Tunisian president has set himself up. Usually the main donor’s public comments are limited to technical indications on the Tunisian file. But here it is: The negotiations around the reforms will soon get into the hard and the IMF knows full well that the current social and political climate does not suit the turn that Tunisia wants to take, with all the sacrifices that this implies on everyone’s part. The general strike of June 16 reminds us that the country is sitting on a powder keg and the UGTT has just opposed a categorical no to the reforms on the IMF table…

From what we know of the interview between the President of the Republic and Jihad Azour, no angry political subject has been deleted. In any case, the official press release from the Carthage Palace does not say so. Motus also in the long text published by the envoy of the IMF at the end of his interview with Saied. It is obvious that this foray into the National Dialogue will not please the Head of State but obviously he will have to resolve to cash it in again. And this time he will not be able to allow himself to snub the IMF as he did with the Venice Commission. Having the purse strings commands respect if not silence…




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