Tunisia: Saied suspends parliament until further notice

Will address the country in coming days

24 August, 12:26

    (ANSAmed) - TUNIS, 24 AGO - Tunisian President Kais Saied extended the suspension of the Tunisian Parliament until further notice, the president's office said in a statement on Wednesday.

    The suspension was initially ordered on 25 July for one month.

    The president's office said the order to revoke parliamentary immunity is also being extended, and the president "will address the nation in the coming days".

    The exceptional measures to sack the prime minister, suspend the work of parliament and revoke parliamentary immunity were ordered by Saied on 25 July based on Article 80 of the Tunisian Constitution.

    The article states: "in the event of imminent danger that threatens the nation's institutions and the security and independence of the country and hinders the regular functioning of public powers, the President of the Republic can adopt measures required in such an exceptional situation, after contacting the head of the government and the speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, and after having informed the president of the Constitutional Court".

    "At any time, thirty days after the measures go into effect, and by request of the speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People or of 30 members of said Assembly, the Constitutional Court is called upon to verify whether the exceptional situation persists".

    Despite the fact that the Constitution calls for it, the Court was never established, and this is cause for significant problems in interpretation.

    Saied's move in taking executive power himself was denounced by his opponents - in particular by the Islamic party Ennahda, the majority in parliament - as a "coup d'etat".

    Since announcing the exceptional measures, President Saied still hasn't named a new head of government, nor has he presented his "roadmap", as requested by the parties, unions and civil society.

    Rather, he has undertaken a significant review of the leaders of many governorates and ministries and started a strong anti-corruption campaign, which thus far has culminated in the arrest of a dozen members of parliament, among others.

    Various countries, including first and foremost the United States, have put strong pressure to "restore the Tunisian democratic path". The White House said in a statement on 14 August that a senior US official met with President Saied in Tunis to call on him to urgently appoint a new prime minister and get his country back on track towards parliamentary democracy.

    In an official statement, however, Saied indicated that the "exceptional measures" adopted on 25 July "fall within the framework of the application of the Constitution and respond to the expectations of the people in a context of political, economic and social crisis".

    Moreover, the Tunisian president still enjoys enormous popular consensus, confirmed by a recent poll in which 94.9% of Tunisians (87% in a previous survey) are in favor of Saied's decisions of 25 July and 91.9% would vote for him in the event of new presidential elections. (ANSAmed).

    © Copyright ANSA - All rights reserved