Thirty officials have been sacked from state institutions in Tunisia following President Kais Saied’s 25 July takeover of executive powers.
Last month, Saied announced that he had frozen parliament, sacked Prime Minister Hicham Mechichi and take full legislative and judicial control until new systems are put in place, citing Article 80 of the Constitution to justify his actions.
The presidency did not provide explanations for the dismissals Saied has initiated, and observers expect more to be announced in the coming days.
Mechichi was the first to be removed from his post, along with Defence Minister Ibrahim El-Bartaji, and Minister in charge of Public Service and acting Minister of Justice Hasna Ben Slimane.
To fill the subsequent vacuum, the Presidency decided that the secretaries general and the officials in charge of administrative and financial affairs in the government and at the aforementioned ministries would manage the sovereign institutions until new government members and a PM are appointed.
On Monday, Minister of Economy, Finance, and Investment Support, Ali Kooli, was dismissed and replaced by Sihem Boughdiri Nemissa.
The Minister of Communication Technologies and Acting Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, Mohamed Fadhel Kraiem, was also relieved of his duties, and Nizar Ben Neji was assigned to run the ministry.
Two das after taking over executive powers, Saied dismissed the head of military justice General Tawfk Al-Ayouni, and head of the General Authority for Martyrs and Wounded People of the Revolution and Terrorist Operations, Abdel Razzaq Al-Kilani.
The President also dismissed Moez Mkaddem, director of Mechichi’s office, and the government’s clerk, Walid Al-Dhahabi, in addition to the PM’s eight advisers, Rachad Ben Ramadan, Hassan Ben Omar, Elyes Al-Ghariani, Osama Al-Khriji, Abdel Salam Al-Abbasi, Salim Al-Tisawi, Zakaria Belkhouja, and Mofedi Mesadi.
Fathi Bayar, Mohamed Ali Al-Aroui, Hossam Eddine Ben Mahmoud, Basma Al-Daoudi, Ibtihal Al-Attawi, Monji Al-Khadrawein, Nabil ben Hadid, Bassam Kchaw and Rawdha Ben Saleh were also removed from their posts.
On 28 July, Saied sacked Mohammed Lasaad Dahesh, the general director of the country’s state television, and assigned Awatef El-Dali to run the establishment temporarily.
The following day the Director General of the intelligence services at the Ministry of Interior, Lazhar Longo was also handed his marching orders, with reports that Mohamed Cherif was ordered to replace him.
In a statement issued yesterday the presidency said it had ended the term of Najmeddine Lakhal, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Tunisia in Washington.
The president also dismissed Anis Oueslati, the governor of Sfax.
Saied has denied accusations that he has carried out a coup and says he is working to “save the Tunisian state.”
His measures come 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.