Tunisian president suspends parliament and fires head of government

Tunisian President Kais Saied has frozen parliament’s activities and dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi from office. The president made the announcement on Sunday evening. The decision comes after a day of protests against Tunisian leaders, including how they handle the corona crisis.

Saied announced the measures under Article 80 of the constitution after an emergency meeting in the palace of Carthage. Tunisia is currently facing a peak of the coronavirus pandemic and is experiencing a deep political crisis that has paralyzed the country for months.

‘It is not allowed under the constitution to dissolve parliament, but it is allowed to suspend its work,’ Saied said after an emergency meeting.

The president quoted a passage from the constitution stating that suspension is allowed in the case of “imminent danger”. He announced he would take over the executive “with the help” of a government headed by a new leader.

The president said he would appoint this prime minister himself.

The decision comes after a day of protests in Tunisia, which called for, among other things, the dissolution of the parliament. Thousands of protesters took to the streets in various parts of the country to express their dismay at the leaders. The protest was mainly opposed to the Islamist party Ennahda.

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