Tunisian President Kais Saied announced last Sunday (25th) the suspension of the activities of the Parliament and the resignation of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, giving himself full executive powers, amid a day of protests against the authorities from the country.
Saied announced these measures after an emergency meeting at the presidential palace in Carthage, as Tunisia faces a strong wave of covid-19 and a deep political crisis that has paralyzed the country for months.
The news was received with honking horns in the capital, Tunis, after Sunday’s demonstrations in several cities, in which they called for the “dissolution of Parliament”.
“The Constitution does not allow me to dissolve Parliament, but rather to suspend its activity,” said Saied, who made his decision based on article 80 of the constitution, which allows this type of measure to be adopted in the face of an “imminent danger” .
“I took the decisions that the situation demands to save Tunisia, the Tunisian state and people,” the president said after meeting with security force officials.
“We are at very delicate moments in the history of Tunisia,” he added.
Saied announced that he will assume executive power with “the help of the government” and will appoint a new prime minister.
In addition, he suspended the parliamentary immunity of deputies.
The measure was condemned by the ruling party, Ennahda, of Islamist orientation, which called it “a coup d’état against the revolution”.
“What Kais Saied is doing is a coup d’etat against the revolution and the Constitution, and the members of Ennahda and the people of Tunisia will defend the revolution,” the party expressed in a statement posted on its Facebook page.
– Popular protests –
Thousands of Tunisians protested on Sunday against the political class, especially against Ennahda, majority in Parliament, but confronted by the president.
“Let’s change regime” or “The people want the dissolution of Parliament” were some of the main proclamations in the protests, marked by much criticism of Prime Minister Mechichi.
Protesters are calling for a constitutional change and an army-led transition period in which Saied is kept as head of state.
Tunisian public opinion is troubled by the conflicts between parties in Parliament and the arm wrestling between the head of the Legislative, Rached Ghannouchi, leader of Ennahdha, and President Saied, who paralyzed public powers.
The population also claims the government’s lack of response to the health crisis, which left Tunisia without an oxygen supply.
With about 18,000 dead in this country of 12 million inhabitants, Tunisia has one of the worst mortality rates in the world for covid-19.
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