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Tunisian President Kais Saied launched a “national dialogue” this week to resolve the country’s political crisis following his controversial power grab last year even as he has excluded the opposition groups from participating, Agence France-Presse reported.
The president said a commission will oversee “the national dialogue,” a measure demanded by the G-7 countries and the European Union. Saied added that the talks will include four groups known as the “National Dialogue Quartet,” which includes the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) and the Tunisian Human Rights League.
In 2015, the quartet jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in establishing what was, at the time, the only democracy to emerge from the 2011 Arab Spring.
Even so, Saied noted that groups “who sabotaged, starved and mistreated the people” will not participate in the dialogue. His statement suggested that many parties and civil groups, including the Islamist Ennahdha party, will be excluded from the talks.
Ennahdha was one of the main groups that opposed Saied’s sacking of the government and his move to rule by decree last year.
Meanwhile, the president announced that a committee preparing constitutional reforms for “a New Republic” will conclude its work shortly, with a referendum on the changes scheduled for July 25, followed by parliamentary elections on Dec. 17.
The national dialogue comes as Tunisia tries to secure a loan package from the International Monetary Fund to alleviate its economic crisis.