Politics, Middle East

Parliament speaker denounces Tunisia ‘coup’ as president ousts government

Ghannouchi calls on Tunisian people to defend revolution

Adel al-Thabti   | 26.07.2021
Parliament speaker denounces Tunisia ‘coup’ as president ousts government

TUNIS, Tunisia

Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi on Monday labeled decisions taken by President Kais Saied as a “coup”.

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On Sunday, Saied dismissed the government, froze parliament, and assumed the executive authority with the assistance of a new prime minister.

“This is a coup against the revolution and the constitution,” Ghannouchi, the leader of the moderate Islamist Ennahda movement, said in a statement.

“The Tunisian people will defend the revolution,” he added.

Tunisia’s president suspends parliament, assumes executive powers

TUNIS, TUNISIA - JULY 26: Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi waits at his car in front of parliament building after the soldiers at the parliament gate did not allow Ghannouchi to enter following Tunisian President Kais Saied announced late Sunday that he has fully assumed executive authority in addition to suspending parliament in Tunis, Tunisia on July 26, 2021. ( Nacer Talel - Anadolu Agency )

Ghannouchi described Saied’s decisions as “wrong” and “will drag Tunisia and its people into darkness and one-man rule”.

He denied claims by the Tunisian president that he had consulted the parliament speaker before taking his decisions.

“President Saied only consulted me regarding taking emergency procedures, but he did not inform us of his decision in advance,” he said Sunday evening.

He stressed that he considers “the parliament in session and the government still standing”, going on to call on the parliament members “to remain steadfast and defend their legitimacy in the face of the invalid measures taken by the head of state."

Ghannouchi went on to call on the Secretary-General of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), Noureddine Taboubi, “to restore democracy," and called on the rest of the national organizations "to defend legitimacy."

The Ennahda leader said that he is in permanent contact with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi following Sunday’s decisions by the Tunisian president.

In Sunday’s speech, Saied said he will lift the immunity of all members of parliament and assume the role of the public prosecutor. He said he has taken these decisions after consulting Mechichi and Ghannouchi.

Tunisia has seen popular protests against both the government and the opposition in recent weeks, amid a months-long political crisis in the North African country.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara.

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