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EU calls for 'preserving democracy in Tunisia'

September 21, 2021 at 1:29 pm

A photograph of a television screen taken in Tunis, on September 20, 2021 shows Tunisia’s President Kais Saied [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

Government heads of southern European Union countries yesterday called for “preserving democracy, constitutional procedures and adherence to the law in Tunisia.”

“The efficiency of the Tunisian government and its proper functioning is crucial in the face of the current economic crisis that requires an urgent solution,” the countries said in a joint statement during the 8th South EU Summit.

The statement added that the European countries would continue “to provide full support to Tunisia to overcome the economic and social crisis exacerbated by the pandemic,” stressing the “need to preserve the country’s stability.”

They also called addressing the “structural causes of the irregular immigration issue.”

READ: Tunisia parties call on army, judiciary to uphold the rule of law

The summit, which was held in the Greek capital city of Athens, was attended by the heads of states of Cyprus, Croatia, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, and Slovenia. They also Libya, irregular migration, and the peace process in the Middle East.

On 25 July, Tunisian President Kais Saied cited Article 80 of the constitution to dismiss Prime Minister Hicham Mechichi, freeze the work of parliament for 30 days, lift the immunity of ministers, and appoint himself as head of the executive authority until the formation of a new government.

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.

The majority of the country’s political parties slammed the move as a “coup against the constitution” and the achievements of the 2011 revolution.

To date, Saied has not appointed a prime minister and extended the emergency measures indefinitely.

Is Tunisia's state of emergency being used to restrict freedoms? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Is Tunisia’s state of emergency being used to restrict freedoms? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]