Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Tunisian President Says he Will not Become a Dictator

Tunisian President Says he Will not Become a Dictator

Saturday, 31 July, 2021 - 11:30
Tunisian President Kais Saied. EPA

Tunisian President Kais Saied promised on Saturday he would not turn into a dictator and rejected accusations he had staged a coup, as two parliament members were arrested following his decision to lift their immunity when he seized control of government this week.

"I know the constitutional texts very well, respect them and taught them and after all this time I will not turn into a dictator as some have said," the presidency quoted the former law professor as saying.

Saied on Sunday removed the immunity of parliament members, leaving any with cases against them vulnerable to arrest.

Since then, parliamentarian and influential blogger Yassin Ayari has been arrested.

Another member of parliament, Maher Zid of the conservative Muslim Karama party, was detained late on Friday, according to his lawyer, after being sentenced to two years in prison in 2018 for offending people on social media and insulting the then president.

On Monday, Ennahda movement, held a sit-in outside parliament after it was surrounded by the army. Hundreds of supporters of Ennahda and Saied confronted each other, some throwing stones or bottles.

The judiciary said it had opened investigations into four people linked to Ennahda for "attempting to commit acts of violence" during the protest, including a member of a party council and two members with connections to its leader.

Editor Picks