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Tunisian president strikes to cement one-man rule By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tunisian President Kais Saied takes the oath of workplace in Tunis, Tunisia, October 23, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi/File Photograph

By Tarek Amara and Angus McDowall

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisian President Kais Saied declared on Wednesday he’ll rule by decree and ignore components of the structure as he prepares to alter the political system, prompting quick opposition from rivals.

Saied has held practically whole energy since July 25 when he sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed govt authority, citing a nationwide emergency in a transfer his foes referred to as a coup.

His intervention has undermined the democratic positive factors of Tunisia’s 2011 revolution that ended autocratic rule and triggered the Arab Spring, regardless of Saied’s pledges to uphold the freedoms received a decade in the past.

Because the weeks have handed, he has come underneath rising strain from Tunisian political gamers and Western donors to call a first-rate minister and clarify how he intends to maneuver previous the disaster.

The brand new measures introduced on Wednesday go far past the steps he took in July, writing into the official gazette guidelines that rework Tunisia’s political system to offer the president nearly limitless energy.

Guidelines printed within the official gazette permit him to situation “legislative texts” by decree, appoint the Cupboard and set its coverage route and primary selections with out interference.

The elected parliament, which he suspended in July utilizing a extremely contentious studying of the structure, won’t solely stay frozen however its members will cease being paid their salaries. They may nonetheless be stripped of immunity from prosecution.

Saied didn’t put any time restrict on his seizure of energy, however mentioned he would appoint a committee to assist draft amendments to the 2014 structure and set up “a real democracy by which the persons are actually sovereign”.

The presidency mentioned that within the meantime solely the preamble to the present structure and any clauses that don’t contradict the manager and legislative powers he has seized will stay in power.

OPPOSITION

The chief of the average Islamist Ennahda celebration, the most important within the deeply fragmented parliament and a member of successive governing coalitions, instantly rejected Saied’s bulletins.

Rached Ghannouchi mentioned the announcement meant cancelling the structure and that Ennahda, which had already declared Saied’s July 25 intervention a coup, wouldn’t settle for that.

A senior official in Coronary heart of Tunisia, the second-largest celebration in parliament, accused Saied of conducting a “premeditated coup.”

“We name for a nationwide alignment in opposition to the coup,” the official, Osama al-Khalifi, mentioned on Twitter (NYSE:).

This month a Saied adviser instructed Reuters that Saied was planning to droop the structure and supply a brand new model by way of a public referendum, prompting a backlash from the highly effective labour union and political events.

Saied has denied having dictatorial aspirations, insists his strikes are constitutional and has vowed to uphold the rights of Tunisians.

His broadly standard intervention got here after years of financial stagnation and political paralysis, aggravated by a pointy spike in COVID-19 circumstances and a day of violent protests.

Nevertheless, because the weeks have handed a rising variety of Tunisians have grown involved by the dearth of readability on Saied’s plans and the absence of a first-rate minister.

Rights teams have additionally pointed to the arrest of a number of parliament members and enterprise leaders on a wide range of prices, together with some outdated ones that have been reactivated after their immunity was eliminated.

One of many detained parliament members instructed Reuters on Wednesday he had been freed.

After criticism over the reported widespread use of journey bans in opposition to folks within the political and enterprise elite, Saied mentioned final week that solely folks going through a judicial warrant or summons can be stopped from leaving Tunisia.

The primary protest in opposition to Saied since his intervention passed off on Saturday, and activists have referred to as for a bigger one this weekend.