Time.news – The Tunisian president, Kais Saied, announced that he had decided to freeze the activity of Parliament, suspend the immunity of all parliamentarians and sack the prime minister, Hicham Mechichi, following the strong protests against the government that took place in the streets of the country. Saied announced that he will take over the leadership of the executive power with the collaboration of a new prime minister.
Shortly after the announcement, horns blew through Tunis and the people poured into the streets to celebrate. In the afternoon the demonstrators had gathered in front of the Parliament to demand its dissolution.
“The Constitution does not allow the dissolution of Parliament but allows the freezing of its activities”, said Saied, invoking article 80 which allows this type of measures in case of “imminent danger”. After an emergency meeting in the suburb of Carthage, Saied announced that he is now in charge of executive power, with “the help of the government” which will be headed by a new head he has appointed.
Several thousand Tunisians demonstrated today, Republic Day, against the ruling parties, in particular against the Islamist formation Ennahdha, whose locations have been targeted. For several days, appeals to take to the streets have been circulating on Facebook, by unidentified groups. The demonstrators also called for a change to the constitution and a transition period run by the army, while retaining Saied as head of state.
“The institutions are still in place, the supporters of Ennahda and the Tunisian people will defend the revolution”, is the reply from the president of the Tunisian Chamber. Rashed Ghannouchi, exponent of the Islamist party Ennahda.
Ten years after the revolution that overthrew the dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia had remained an unstable country due to a fragmented political framework paralyzed by the rivalry between the premier and the president, elected in 2019. Political tensions have blocked the appointment of some ministers and slowed down efforts to address the numerous economic problems and social issues affecting the population, to which the Covid-19 epidemic has been added.