Tunisian president ousts prime minister, suspends parliament amid unrest

Tunisian president ousts prime minister, suspends parliament amid unrest

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Islam News – Tunisian President Kais Saied announced Sunday that he had dismissed the country’s prime minister and frozen the parliament amidst mass protests in the country, Reuters reports.

The move, which comes on the 64th anniversary of Tunisia’s independence, escalates Saied’s longstanding feud with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and poses a challenge to the 2014 constitution that “split powers between president, prime minister and parliament.”

Saied defended his decision as in line with the constitution and said he would assume executive authority alongside a new prime minister.

Saied also suspended the legal immunity of members of parliament.

According to Reuters, hours earlier, Tunisia was rocked by mass protests in several cities that were fueled by public dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the coronavirus and a worsening economic crisis.

In several cities, protesters and police clashed violently, as crowds stormed the offices of Ennahda, the biggest party in parliament, while demanding the prime minister’s resignation and the dissolution of parliament, according to Al Jazeera.

Sunday’s protests were the largest in months and the biggest to target Ennahda in years.

“Many people were deceived by hypocrisy, treachery and robbery of the rights of the people,” Saied said in a statement on state media.

“I warn any who think of resorting to weapons… and whoever shoots a bullet, the armed forces will respond with bullets,” Saied added.

The speaker of Tunisia’s parliament and the leader of the Ennahda party, Rached Ghannouchi told Reuters that the president had launched a “coup against the revolution and constitution.”

Source: Axios