Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed announced on Sunday night that he was stepping down from parliament and dismissing Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi from office after a day of demonstrations against Tunisian leaders.
as reported from Tunis, Lilia blaise
Horns on the streets and Tunisians come out in complete curfew to celebrate or question what happened on Sunday night. After a series of apolitical demonstrations across the country, the president soon gathered representatives of the military and the police. The President of the Republic declared that he had dismissed Hichem Mechichi, the Prime Minister, and that he would appoint a successor to appoint a new team of ministers in the coming days.
“We will announce other measures to save Tunisia. The Tunisian people must continue their revolution in all legitimacy and we will apply the law, “he explained after an emergency meeting in the Carthage Palace with security forces officials. “We are going through very sensitive moments in the history of Tunisia,” the head of state added.
“This is neither a repeal of the constitution nor a withdrawal from constitutional legitimacy, we are working within the law,” he assured, relying on Article 80 of the constitution, which allows him to take exceptional measures in the event of imminent danger to the country. But the text is not clear about these measures, and nothing is said about the dismissal of the head of government, the lifting of the deputies’ immunity or the freezing of parliament’s work for a month, as Kaïs Saïed said in a statement on Facebook.
Ennahdha condemns a “coup”
According to the text, the president must also refer it to the Constitutional Court, which does not currently exist in Tunisia.
The Tunisian president has been engaged for several months to the largest parliamentary party, Ennahdha. In power since the 2011 revolution, the Islamist party is directly targeted by these measures. Parliament leader Rached Ghanouchi is the party’s leader and Hichem Mechichi, the current Prime Minister, was supported by this movement close to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ennahdha reacted immediately after the head of state’s statements, via a press release on his Facebook page: for the Islamist party, it is “a coup against the revolution and against the constitution” and stresses that his “partisans (….) As well as the Tunisian people will defend the revolution “.
At present, the Tunisians’ reactions are mixed, not knowing whether they are witnessing a coup or a new breath in the face of the political stalemate that has lasted for several months. But after these announcements, hundreds of Tunisians took to the streets to show their joy, as Hena Shenaoui witnessed. This resident of the capital had demonstrated a few hours earlier.
Hena Shenaoui: people are “very happy, they celebrate”