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Political System

Tunisian president strikes to cement one-man rule

  • President Saied declares he’ll rule by decree
  • He can appoint Cupboard, set coverage
  • Elements of structure won’t be in power
  • Opponents name political modifications a coup

TUNIS, Sept 22 (Reuters) – Tunisian President Kais Saied declared on Wednesday he’ll rule by decree and ignore elements of the structure as he prepares to alter the political system, prompting quick opposition from rivals.

Saied has held practically complete energy since July 25 when he sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed government authority, citing a nationwide emergency in a transfer his foes known as a coup. learn extra

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

Because the weeks have handed, he has come below rising strain from Tunisian political gamers and Western donors to call a chief 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 provide the president nearly limitless energy.

Guidelines printed within the official gazette enable him to concern “legislative texts” by decree, appoint the Cupboard and set its coverage route and primary choices 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 are going to 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 during 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 chief and legislative powers he has seized will stay in power.


The chief of the average Islamist Ennahda get together, the largest 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 get together in parliament, accused Saied of conducting a “premeditated coup.”

“We name for a nationwide alignment towards the coup,” the official, Osama al-Khalifi, mentioned on Twitter.

This month a Saied adviser informed Reuters that Saied was planning to droop the structure and provide a brand new model through 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 common 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 chief minister.

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to the arrest of a number of parliament members and enterprise leaders on quite a lot of expenses, together with some outdated ones that have been reactivated after their immunity was eliminated.

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

After criticism over the reported widespread use of journey bans towards individuals within the political and enterprise elite, Saied mentioned final week that solely individuals dealing with a judicial warrant or summons could be stopped from leaving Tunisia.

The primary protest towards Saied since his intervention passed off on Saturday, and activists have known as for a bigger one this weekend.

Reporting by Tarek Amara
Writing by Angus McDowall
Modifying by Cynthia Osterman and Grant McCool

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.