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Opposition in Tunisia calls for protests against president

July 21, 2022 at 12:09 pm

Tunisian President Kais Saied in Tunis, Tunisia on July 21, 2022 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisian opposition party, the National Front for Salvation, yesterday called for “new protests” against the country’s President Kais Saied.

In an official statement, the group called for boycotting the 25 July referendum on a new constitution. “We oppose all Saied’s decisions since he announced the exceptional measures a year ago,” the statement stressed.

The front, which includes independent politicians and parties including the Islamic Renaissance Movement as well as political groups, has repeatedly accused Saied of “overthrowing the 2014 constitution and establishing individual-based rule.”

Saied has held nearly total power since 25 July 2021 when he sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority citing a national emergency.

He appointed a prime minister on 29 September of the same year 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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