Tunisia’s democracy in crisis as violence continues after president ousts government

World

Troops have surrounded Tunisia’s parliament building as supporters and opponents of the president clashed with each other following his dismissal of the prime minister.

The violence in the capital Tunis comes after President Kais Saied ousted the government and froze parliament, with help from the army.

Officers used tear gas to disperse some demonstrators throwing projectiles at officers and made several arrests.

Late on Sunday, protesters celebrated in the streets following the announcement that Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi had been removed as leader.

Police officers guard the parliament building
Image:
Police officers guard the parliament building

President Saied invoked the constitution to dismiss Mr Mechichi and decree a freeze of parliament for 30 days, saying he would govern alongside a new premier.

Mr Mechichi is at his home and not under arrest, one source close to him and two Tunisian security sources said.

More on Tunisia

But the president’s critics have accused him of a power grab that threatens Tunisia’s young democracy.

Chief among them was the parliament speaker and the head of Islamist movement Ennahdha, Rached Ghannouchi, who called the move “a coup against the constitution and the [Arab Spring] revolution”.

On Monday morning Mr Ghannouchi arrived at the parliament building and said he would call a session in defiance of Mr Saied, but the army stationed outside stopped the 80-year-old former political exile from entering.

“I am against gathering all powers in the hands of one person,” he said, standing in front of the locked gates.

Mr Ghannouchi’s daughter and the Ennahdha Party’s international spokesperson Dr Yusra Ghannouchi told Sky News the action by the president was a “great violation of the constitution and an attempt to suspend Tunisia’s democracy”.

President Kais Saied (pictured) fired the prime minister less than a year after Hichem Mechichi was appointed o the role. Pic AP
Image:
President Kais Saied fired the prime minister less than a year after he was appointed to the role. Pic: AP

She called for the sides to come together through dialogue and not through coups.

“It is an attempt to return to the era of dictatorship, to the era of one-man rule and to the era of disregard to the Tunisian people, as well,” she said.

Rached Ghannouchi is leader of Tunisia's moderate Islamist Ennahda party. File pic
Image:
Rached Ghannouchi is leader of Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party. File pic

Mr Saied, who swept to office in 2019 after campaigning as the scourge of a corrupt, incompetent elite, rejected accusations that he had conducted a coup.

But the action by the president poses the greatest risk to Tunisia’s stability since the 2011 revolution that triggered the “Arab Spring” and ousted an autocracy in favour of democratic rule, but has failed to deliver sound governance or prosperity.

After the announcement, people took to the streets in the capital, Tunis, to celebrate the dismissal
Image:
After the announcement, people demonstrated in the capital’s streets to celebrate the dismissal

Tunisia has descended deep into an economic crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Every Robert De Niro Performance In A Martin Scorsese Movie, Ranked
Celebrity Stylist Dani Michelle On DSW, Kourtney Kardashian’s Evolving Style, and Fall Trends
Doctor who performed abortion in defiance of new Texas law is being sued
Panel rejects booster jabs plan for all Americans – with green light given to over 65s and vulnerable
World’s largest tree wrapped in flame-resistant blanket to save it from California wildfires

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *