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Tunisia president dismisses Paris, Milan consuls

Kais Saied, Tunisia's president in Brussels, Belgium, 4 June 2021 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu/Bloomberg/Getty Images]
Kais Saied, Tunisia's president in Brussels, Belgium, 4 June 2021 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu/Bloomberg/Getty Images]

Tunisian President Kais Saied yesterday dismissed his country's consuls in the cities of Paris and Milan and ordered a "financial and administrative audit" at the two consulates.

In a statement the presidency said Saied instructed Paris' Consul General Taher Arbaoui be replaced with Ridha Gharsallaoui, and Milan's Consul General Adel Bin Abdullah with Khalil Jendoubi.

Since 24 November, Saied has dismissed more than 20 diplomats in many countries, without providing reasons.

Saied has held nearly total power since 25 July when he sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority citing a national emergency.

READ: Tunisia parties reject president's use of army in political struggles 

He appointed a prime minister on 29 September and a government has since been formed.

The majority of the country's political parties slammed the move as a "coup against the constitution" and the achievements of the 2011 revolution. Critics say Saied's decisions have strengthened the powers of the presidency at the expense of parliament and the government, and that he aims to transform the country's government into a presidential system.

On more than one occasion, Saied, who began a five-year presidential term in 2019, said that his exceptional decisions are not a coup, but rather measures within the framework of the constitution to protect the state from "imminent danger".

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