Tunisia must quickly find the “road to democracy”, a senior White House official told President Kais Saied on Saturday, a few days after he seized executive power, notably suspending the activity of Parliament for a month. In an hour-long call with the Tunisian President, President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan expressed his support for “Tunisian democracy based on fundamental rights, strong institutions and a commitment to the rule of law, ”according to a statement from the White House.
On July 25, Kais Saied froze Parliament for thirty days and sacked Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi. He ordered a crackdown on corruption targeting 460 businessmen and an investigation into alleged illegal funding of political parties. The US statement said the appeal “focused on the crucial need for Tunisian leaders to outline a swift return to Tunisia’s democratic path.”
“This will require the rapid formation of a new government, headed by a competent prime minister, in order to stabilize the Tunisian economy and deal with the Covid-19 pandemic,” the statement added. The country is paralyzed by an economic crisis marked by galloping inflation and high unemployment, as well as an upsurge in coronavirus infections.