ARCHIVE – Kais Saied, President of Tunisia, gives a speech during the swearing-in ceremony of the new government in the Palace of the Republic. Saied has extended Parliament’s suspension. Photo: Fethi Belaid / AFP Pool via AP / dpa
The Tunisian presidency announced early Tuesday morning via Twitter that he had issued a corresponding decree extending the exceptional measures “until further notice”. In addition, the immunity of all MPs remains lifted. Saied will address the Tunisian people in the coming days. How long Parliament’s work will be suspended was initially unknown.
Saied had deposed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi almost a month ago and frozen the work of parliament for an initial 30 days. Their leading party is the Ennahda. Saied has since fired dozens of senior government officials. Several of the president’s critics have also been arrested or placed under house arrest.
Tunisia has been in turmoil ever since. Saied’s opponents condemned his actions as a coup. Former law professor Saied, who has been in office since October 2019, said his measures were in line with the constitution. Article 80 grants him the right to take extraordinary measures in the event of a “serious threat to the unity, security and independence of the country”. Despite promises to the contrary, Saied has not yet presented a roadmap for restoring the democratic process in the country.
Since the Arab uprisings of 2011, Tunisia has been the only country in the region to make the transition to democracy. However, it continues to struggle with an economic crisis, high unemployment and widespread corruption. The country was also badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.