Rached Ghannouchi, head of the Tunisian parliament and leader of the Ennahda Movement, said on Sunday that "there is no way to dissolve parliament, whatever be the reasons may be."
The statement came a day after dozens of Tunisians held a march in the capital, Tunis, urging President Kais Saied to hold a national referendum on dissolving parliament in light of ongoing attempts to disrupt the activities of the sovereign institution by disputing the appointment of MPs.
Tunisia has been undergoing a severe economic and social crisis for months, which has been exacerbated by the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.
During the conference, Ghannouchi said: "There is no legal or a constitutional way to dissolve parliament. It can only be dissolved if it fails to approve and endorse a government."
According to the Tunisian constitution, the president of the republic has the power to issue a decision to dissolve parliament only if it fails to form a government 90 days after it is assembled.
The mandate of the current parliament started in October 2019. Since then, two governments have been formed.
Ghannouchi said that Tunisia today needs "a comprehensive dialogue and a national project that combines all different political forces to formulate common goals to stand as an alternative to the current situation, which is based on deepening rupture."
He expressed his surprise at what Tunisia is experiencing today, saying: "We should have common goals, but the authority did not remain cohesive … We must maintain unity rather than division."
Recent months have seen a dispute between President Saied and Prime Minister Hisham Mechichi, after the latter announced a partial government reshuffle. Saied refused to allow the new ministers to take the oath of office, saying the cabinet amendment was marred by "violations".