World, Americas

US says Tunisia ‘must not squander its democratic gains’

‘The United States will continue to stand on the side of Tunisia’s democracy,’ says Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Michael Hernandez   | 26.07.2021
US says Tunisia ‘must not squander its democratic gains’ FILE PHOTO

WASHINGTON

Tunisia must preserve the democratic inroads it made following its 2011 revolution, the US said on Monday amid tumult in the North African nation.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US has been “closely monitoring” the situation in Tunisia, and said the Biden administration has been in contact with Tunisian authorities to “stress that solutions to Tunisia’s political and economic troubles should be based on the Tunisian constitution and the principles of democracy, human rights, and freedom.”

“We have been clear in urging all parties to avoid taking any actions that could stifle democratic discourse or lead to violence. We are particularly troubled by reports that media offices have been closed and urge scrupulous respect for freedom of expression and other civil rights,” the top diplomat said in a statement.

“Tunisia must not squander its democratic gains. The United States will continue to stand on the side of Tunisia’s democracy,” he added.

Earlier on Monday, Tunisian President Kais Saied announced that he suspended all the powers of the Tunisian parliament, as well as its deputies’ immunity, dismissed Prime Minister Hisham al-Mashishi, and said he would take over the executive power with a premier he would appoint.

Saied also declared himself attorney general.

Soldiers barred Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi and his deputies from entering parliament.

Since January, the country has been in a political deadlock amid a dispute between Saied and Mashishi over a government reshuffle that the former rejected.

The country is also facing an economic crisis and a surge in coronavirus infections amid warnings of a possible collapse of the healthcare system.

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