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MEPs express grave concern about concentration of powers in the hands of Tunisia's President

President of Tunisia Kais Saied in Tunis, Tunisia on 11 October 2021 [Tunisian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]
President of Tunisia Kais Saied in Tunis, Tunisia on 11 October 2021 [Tunisian Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) today, Thursday, adopted a resolution on the situation in Tunisia in which they expressed deep concern about the concentration of powers in the hands of the president. They called for the preservation of Tunisia's constitution, its legislative framework, and the restoration of a well-functioning and legitimate parliament.

"Institutional stability must be restored as soon as possible and fundamental rights and freedoms respected," the MEPs said.

The resolution further urged the authorities "to avoid the legal uncertainty created by travel bans, state surveillance and house arrests. Civilian trials by military courts are highly problematic, MEPs stress, calling for an independent judiciary to be restored that would lead to the reform of the military courts in Tunisia and put an end to military trials of civilians."

The MEPs called on the authorities "to effectively resume an inclusive national dialogue that must also include civil society." They recalled that "civil society in Tunisia is well-developed and has played a fundamental role in shaping and strengthening Tunisia's democratic transition since 2011."

The resolution which was adopted by 534 votes in favour, 45 against and 106 abstentions called on the EU to continue its programmes that directly support Tunisian citizens, and to step up assistance where necessary. "This should include healthcare support through the COVAX system, to help the country to manage the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," it added.

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