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Ghannouchi to Saied: Discourse of division is destroying the country, dialogue is needed

The speaker of Tunisia's parliament Rached Ghannouchi speaks with AFP in the capital Tunis, on March 31, 2022 [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]
The speaker of Tunisia's parliament Rached Ghannouchi speaks with AFP in the capital Tunis, on March 31, 2022 [FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images]

The head of the Ennahda movement, Rached Ghannouchi, called on President Kais Saied to rid himself of the "mentality of dividing and accusing of treason", and work to unite Tunisians.

Ghannouchi said: "Unfortunately, the mentality of dividing and accusing of treason prevails today… why do we not seek to gather Tunisians? Instead, we divide them and accuse them of treason … When this is applied in reality, we see it as blood and civil wars."

"The country needs consensus, dialogue, a mentality that gathers and not separates, and to avoid the biggest danger that threatens it, which is famine and dictatorship. The reason behind all of this is the mentality of exclusion."

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 Minister rejects accusations of normalising relations with Israel

He appointed a prime minister on 29 September and a government has since been formed. In December, Saied announced that a referendum will be held on 25 July to consider 'constitutional reforms' and elections would follow in December 2022.

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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