Middle East

Tunisian speaker flays president for freezing parliament, offers inclusive national dialogue

‘Country is experiencing suffocating financial crisis, unprecedented international isolation,’ says Rached Ghannouchi

Amna al-Yaferni   | 28.01.2022
Tunisian speaker flays president for freezing parliament, offers inclusive national dialogue Rached Ghannouchi, Tunisian parliament speaker ( Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency )

TUNIS, Tunisia

The speaker of Tunisia’s frozen parliament on Thursday said that all power has been concentrated in the hands of Tunisian President Kais Saied after he dismissed the government in July last year. 

Rached Ghannouchi made the remarks during a video conference of members of parliament to celebrate the eighth anniversary of the 2014 constitution, which was approved three years after President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in a popular uprising.

"On July 25, the constitution, the revolution’s national gain, was overthrown and the unity of Tunisians was ripped apart, institutions were disrupted, and powers were concentrated in the hands of one person," said Ghannouchi, who is also head of Ennahda Movement party.

On July 25, 2021, Saied dismissed the government of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, suspended parliament, and assumed executive authority amid mounting public anger over economic stagnation and political paralysis.

While Saied claimed that his "exceptional measures" were meant to "save" the country, critics have been accusing him of orchestrating a coup.

"The country is experiencing a suffocating financial crisis and unprecedented international isolation, with a social situation on the verge of explosion and division fanned by the country's highest authority," Ghannouchi warned.

"The institution of Parliament has been maligned in order to abolish it," he said.

He renewed his call for "an inclusive national dialogue that does not exclude anyone.”

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