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Tunisia president sacks government, freezes parliament

Tunisia's President has dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and suspended parliament in what has been described as a 'coup'

Tunisian President Kais Saied yesterday sacked Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and parliament and assumed executive authority of the government.

During a speech live on TV, Saied also removed MPs' parliamentary immunity saying his decisions and measures came in line with the Constitution.

As he was heading a meeting with military and security officials, he said he would assume executive authority with help of a prime minister he would choose himself.

This comes after violent protests broke out in several Tunisian cities criticising the government's handling of the economy and the coronavirus. Demonstrators had called for parliament to be dissolved.

Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi accused Saied of carrying out "a coup against the revolution and constitution."

Speaking to Reuters, Ghannouchi, the head of the moderate Ennahda movement, said: "We consider the institutions to be still standing and supporters of Ennahda and the Tunisian people will defend the revolution."

Meanwhile the Heart of Tunisia party said: "The decisions taken by President Saied are a grave breach of the constitution." Adding that it is committed to the rule of law and institutions, adding that it "respects electoral legitimacy and rejects any decision that contradicts its institutional outcomes." It went on to call on all parties to address the "legitimate demands" of Tunisians and avoid "false political battles."

READ: Tunisia army bans parliament speaker from entering office

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