The Speaker of the Tunisian Parliament and leader of Ennahda Movement has described President Kais Saied's decision to dissolve the government and freeze Parliament as a "complete coup against the constitution." Rached Ghannouchi made his comments at dawn on Monday outside the parliament building.
The president's decision, he insisted, has no basis in law or the constitution. "It is a coup against the constitution, the revolution and the public and private liberties in the country. The Tunisian people will not accept individual rule again, no matter how hard they try, and will not accept a return to tyranny."
The veteran politician called on the Tunisian people to take to the streets in order to reclaim their revolution. As far as he is concerned, he insisted, the elected democratic institutions are still standing, including the parliament, the government and all other bodies.
"We believe that the president's interpretation [of the constitution] is wrong and contradicts the truth, as it is based on certain articles of the constitution that authorise him in exceptional circumstances to take exceptional measures."
Ghannouchi pointed out that the president did consult him about taking such measures within the framework of the constitution. "However, the constitution, even in a state of emergency, insists on a permanent parliamentary session and prevents the dissolution of the government."
The Tunisian people, he added, made a revolution, not a coup. "The revolution has youthful men and women who will defend it, so we call for withdrawing [the president's decision] because it will plunge the Tunisians into darkness and they will not gain anything from it. Democracy will return to Tunisia and the people will defend their revolution… It is true that some people took advantage of the difficult conditions facing the country, but the people will realise that these measures take them back to a tyranny where only one opinion matters."