The situation is tense in Tunisia, the main party in power, Ennahdha, even denounces a “coup”. President Kais Saied decided Sunday evening to freeze the work of Parliament for 30 days and to grant himself executive power, after a day of protests. The thousands of protesters notably demanded the “dissolution of Parliament”.
This dramatic turn shakes the young Tunisian democracy, which has been functioning since the adoption in 2014 of a compromise Constitution according to a mixed parliamentary system, in which the president has only diplomacy and security as prerogatives. Tunisians, exasperated by power struggles and the government’s contested handling of the social and health crisis, took to the streets despite the curfew, firing fireworks and honking their horns enthusiastically in Tunis and several other areas. other cities.
A long arm
“According to the Constitution, I took decisions that the situation requires in order to save Tunisia, the State and the Tunisian people,” said Kais Saied after an emergency meeting at the Carthage Palace with officials of the security forces. “We are going through the most delicate moments in the history of Tunisia,” added the Head of State, engaged for months in a standoff with Ennahdha.
“This is neither a suspension of the Constitution nor an exit from constitutional legitimacy, we are working within the framework of the law”, he assured, specifying that these decisions would be published in the form of a decree. For his part, Ennahdha blasted “a coup against the revolution and against the Constitution”. The Islamist formation stressed that its “supporters (…) as well as the Tunisian people will defend the revolution”.
Prime Minister dismissed from office
Since the coming to power in 2019 of a fragmented Assembly and a fiercely independent president of the parties, elected against a background of fed up with the political class in power since 2011, the country has sunk into crises particularly intractable policies. Kais Saied, who advocated a revolution through law and radical regime change during his election campaign, has announced that he is removing government chief Hichem Mechichi from his post. The President of the Republic “will take charge of the executive power with the help of a government whose president will be appointed by the Head of State”, he added.
“The Constitution does not allow the dissolution of Parliament but it allows the freezing of its activities”, declared the president, relying on article 80 which allows this type of measure in the event of “imminent danger”. He also announced that he would lift the parliamentary immunity of MPs and promised to prosecute those involved in court cases.