Tunisia in turmoil as president fires more officials

Published July 29, 2021
People walk past the Sidi Bashir mosque in the Bab el-Fellah area of Tunisia's capital Tunis on July 28. — AFP
People walk past the Sidi Bashir mosque in the Bab el-Fellah area of Tunisia's capital Tunis on July 28. — AFP

TUNIS: Tunisia lurched further into political uncertainty on Wednesday, as President Kais Saied sacked more officials, days after he suspended parliament and assumed executive powers in what opponents labelled a “coup”.

Key civil society groups warned against any “illegitimate” extension of Saied’s 30-day suspension of parliament, and demanded in a joint statement a timeline for political action.

After suspending parliament and sacking Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi on Sunday, and firing the defence and justice ministers on Monday, Saied then ordered the dismissal of several top officials.

Late on Tuesday, 63-year-old Saied, a former law lecturer who was a political newcomer when he won a landslide 2019 presidential election victory, issued decrees sacking a long list of senior government officials, including the army’s chief prosecutor. He has also lifted the parliamentary immunity of lawmakers, and assumed judicial powers.

Saied says his actions are justified under the constitution, which allows the head of state to take unspecified exceptional measures in the event of an “imminent threat”.

Published in Dawn, July 29th , 2021

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