Kais Saied

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Kaïs Saïed
قيس سعيّد
Kaïs Saïed 2019.jpg
Saied in 2019
5th President of Tunisia
Assumed office
23 October 2019
Prime MinisterYoussef Chahed
Elyes Fakhfakh[1]
Preceded byBeji Caid Essebsi
Mohamed Ennaceur (acting)
Personal details
Born (1958-02-22) 22 February 1958 (age 61)
Tunis, Tunisia[2]
NationalityTunisian
Political partyIndependent
Spouse(s)Ichraf Chebil
Children3
Alma materUniversity of Tunis
International Institute of Humanitarian Law
ProfessionJurist, lecturer

Kais Saied (Arabic: قيس سعيد‎; born 22 February 1958) is a Tunisian politician, jurist and former lecturer serving as the fifth President of Tunisia since October 2019.

Early life[edit]

Kais Saied is the son of Moncef Saied from Béni Khiar (Cap Bon) and Lalla Zakia, a family of modest but intellectual origin. His paternal uncle Hicham Saied was the first pediatric surgeon in Tunisia, known worldwide for separating Siamese twins in the 1970s.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Saied in 2013.

Saied was a professor at the University of Tunis, retiring in 2018.[4] He served as the Secretary-General of the Tunisian Association of Constitutional Law between 1990 and 1995 and has been the vice president of the organization since 1995. Saied also served as Dean of the Law Department at the University of Sousse, as a legal expert for the Arab League and the Arab Institute for Human Rights. Saied was also a member of the expert committee which was invited to offer comments to the draft Constitution of Tunisia in 2014.[5]

2019 presidential campaign[edit]

Saied was one of the first declared candidates in the 2019 Tunisian presidential election.[6] Running as an Independent social conservative, he has sought to appeal to younger voters.[7] One of his policies included support for allowing citizens to recall their elected officials.[8][9] Saied suggested to voters that many of Tunisia's current issues were due to "non-respect for many constitutional laws".[7] He presented a plan to combat corruption, whether it is "moral or financial".[7] Saied was supported by both Islamists and leftists.[10]

In a June 2019 interview with the newspaper Acharaâ Al Magharibi, Saied announced his support for the death penalty. He also made statements that homosexuality, or rather its public expression, is financed and encouraged by foreign countries, telling the paper:

I was told certain houses were rented by foreign parties... homosexuality has existed throughout history, but certain people want to spread homosexuality.[11]

He has taken conservative positions on women's issues as well, coming out against gender equality in inheritance issues, in accordance with the interpretation of religious law.[12]

Kais Saied is against normalisation of Tunisian–Israeli relationship saying that Israel is in war with the Muslim world and any Muslim leader who normalizes his or her country's relationship with the Zionists should be tried for treason. He said his country has no problem with Jews and that Tunisians including his father protected Jews during the Second World War.[13][14]

Saied has also stated that he is in favor of a decentralised, three-tier, indirect manner of electing national legislative representatives, some elements of direct democracy, and believes that local representatives should be elected based on character and its underlying structure rather than political ideology. Due to his relative obscurity and lack of campaigning, several of his positions were not well-defined aside from his social conservatism.[10] Despite being supported by Ennahdha in the election and holding socially conservative positions, Saied did not describe himself as an Islamist, and had advisers from across the political spectrum.[15] He also is not in favor of adding religious elements to the constitution, stating that these were only his personal beliefs.

Several media sources[7][12][16] referred to Saied as "RoboCop", given his monotonous voice, his use of Standard Arabic rather than Tunisian dialect, and his focus on law and order issues. On the campaign trail, Saied portrayed himself as a man of the people, somewhat similarly to Nabil Karoui, another populist candidate.

Saied received 620,711 votes in the first round of the 2019 Tunisian presidential election, coming in first place, and moved on to face Karoui in the second round. He was announced on 14 October as the new President of Tunisia, winning the second round with 72.71% of the vote.[10] He took office nine days later, becoming only the second president who was not an heir to the legacy of the country's founding president, Habib Bourguiba.

The prime minister will have two months to create a coalition.[10]

Presidency[edit]

Saied was sworn in as Tunisia's president on 23 October 2019.[17][18] He is the first president born after the country gained independence from France in 1956.

Personal life[edit]

Kais Saied is married to the judge Ichraf Chebil, whom he met when she was a law student in Sousse. They have three children.[19]

Honours[edit]

Tunisian national[edit]

Publications[edit]

Saied is the author of a number of works on constitutional law, including:

  • (in Arabic) Recueil de constitutions et documents politiques tunisiens (نصوص و وثائق سياسية تونسية) [avec Abdelfattah Amor], éd. Centre d'études et de recherches politiques, Tunis, 1987
  • Dispositions générales de la constitution [sous la dir. de], éd. Faculté des sciences juridiques, politiques et sociales de Tunis, Tunis, 2010

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Tunisia's Saied tasks former finance minister to form new gov't". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  2. ^ "قيس سعيد من هو.. ولماذا اختارته تونس؟". سكاي نيوز عربية (in Arabic). Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  3. ^ "Qui est Kais Saied, l'infatigable marcheur, qui a emporté le premier tour de la présidentielle en Tunisie (Album photos)". Leaders (in French). Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Présidentielle en Tunisie : qui est Kais Saied, le nouveau président élu". tv5monde.com (in French). 14 October 2019. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Kaïs Saïed". arabesque.tn (in Arabic). 29 November 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Kais Saïd, candidat à la présidentielle de 2019". webmanagercenter.com (in French). 3 December 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d Delmas, Benoit. "Tunisie : Kaïs Saïed, un Robespierre en campagne". Le Point. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  8. ^ Frida Dahmani (26 October 2018). "Présidentielle en Tunisie – Kaïs Saïed : "Je ne serai candidat d'aucun parti"". jeuneafrique.com (in French). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Kaïs Saïed : "Je me présenterai aux présidentielles en tant qu'indépendant"". webdo.tn (in French). 23 March 2019. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d Amara, Tarek; Argoubi, Mohammed (14 October 2019). "Hailing 'new revolution', political outsider Saied elected Tunisia's president". Reuters. Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Kaïs Saïed : j'éliminerai les élections législatives et je suis pour la peine de mort". businessnews.com.tn (in French). 11 June 2019. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  12. ^ a b Lussato, Céline. "Présidentielle tunisienne : " Robocop ", ultraconservateur… 10 choses à savoir sur Kaïs Saïed". Le Nouvel Observateur. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  13. ^ "Tunisia's president-elect: Normalization with Israel is treason". Israel National News. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  14. ^ staff, T. O. I.; AFP. "Tunisia's new president regards any ties with Israel as 'high treason'". www.timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  15. ^ Saleh, Heba (13 October 2019). "Outsider 'Robocop' wins landslide victory in Tunisia poll". Financial Times. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  16. ^ "Tunisia elections: 'Robocop' and 'Berlusconi' head to second round". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 17 September 2019.
  17. ^ "Tunisia's new president sworn in, vows to fight corruption". Associated Press. 23 October 2019. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  18. ^ Amara, Tarek (23 October 2019). "Political outsider Saied sworn in as Tunisia's president". Reuters. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Présidentielle 2019 : Biographie de Kais Saied, vainqueur du premier tour". Webdo (in French). 16 September 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2019.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mohamed Ennaceur
Acting
President of Tunisia
2019–present
Incumbent