Chronicle of the Middle East and North Africa

Tunisians Follow Political Events with A Football-like Mood

Tunisians Political Events
Tunisians react as they watch the Fifa 2010 World Cup football qualifying Mozambique vs Tunisia on November 14, 2009 in a cafe in Tunis. FETHI BELAID / AFP

Hakim Marzouki

With the mood of football fans, Tunisians are following the hot political decisions taking place where President Kais Saied plays the starring role. They do that from all social classes and age groups. Tunisians are known for their strong attachment to this popular sport to the point of obsession.

You find them huddled in cafes and bars with their eyes fixed on TV screens, waiting for every news or statement related to the development of events in Tunisia. They forget about the social distancing imposed by the state of precaution due to the pandemic, something that costed the lives of many Tunisians.

The broad audience, who lined up with Kais Saied, intensified their enthusiasm and cheering for the president, who broke out of his silence on July 25 and started scoring one goal after another against his opponent. He was like a football team that woke up in extra time, adjusted the result in its favour, then intensified its attacks to take control of the game. However, no one has blown the final whistle yet.

The supporters of the opponent neither appear in cafes and bars nor mosques.  Those are the supporters of the leader of the Ennahda movement Rashid Ghannouchi and his allies. Nevertheless, their heads pop up from time to time on social media, denouncing what they called a coup, and threatening supporters of Kais Saied, reminding them of the proverb “He who laughs last laughs best”.

It is not possible here to talk about a neutral audience amid this clear line-up, even if the supporters of Kais Saied prevailed. However, many Tunisians wonder about the outcomes of this conflagration. They warn about slips, as the president now holds the legislative, executive, and judicial authorities. Such a thing portends establishing a true dictatorship that is not acceptable to the Tunisians who have paid dearly for this emerging democracy because that freedom is the only gain of the Jasmine Revolution after the economic and social failures.

The decisions of the Tunisian president are still widely welcomed, especially concerning the confiscation of properties of some suspects in corruption and terrorism. But these decisions are still met with reservations even in some secular and Western circles.

The “match” is still going on in the last minutes between the president and his political opponents, waiting for the final result, even if the audience of Kais Saied announced his victory before the referee whistle.

Of course, the supporters of Ghannouchi will not remain silent when a resolution is in favour of the president. They will go beyond mere protests and complaints, something that we should seriously take into consideration.

The football mood of Tunisians accompanies every political event. But the most important thing is to keep the field free from intruders and saboteurs, as well as the integrity of arbitration to complete the democratic scene and make Tunisia worthy of the highest humanitarian idea reached since the Greeks, which is a democracy, of course.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of our bloggers. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Fanack or its Board of Editors.

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