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Tunisia’s President Warns Against Attempts to Hold Sessions of Suspended Parliament

Tunisia’s President Warns Against Attempts to Hold Sessions of Suspended Parliament

Monday, 28 March, 2022 - 17:30
Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, head of the moderate Islamist Ennahda, arrives at the party's headquarters in Tunis, Tunisia, July 29, 2021. (Reuters)

Tunisia’s president warned late on Monday against attempts to hold sessions of the suspended parliament saying forces and institutions will confront those who want to push Tunisians to fight.

Speaker Rached Ghannouchi said earlier on Monday that parliament will hold two full sessions this week, to consider revoking President Kais Saied’s moves toward a new constitution and one-man rule.

Saied, who suspended parliament and seized executive power last summer, a move that opponents called a coup, added in a speech the state is not a puppet and these attempts are desperate and have no legal value, Reuters reported.

Ghannouchi, who heads the moderate Islamist Ennahda which is the biggest party in the chamber with a quarter of the seats, has been one of Saied's most vocal critics since July, accusing him of a coup.

Saied rejects that accusation, saying his actions were needed to save Tunisia from what he describes as a corrupt, self-serving elite and a political system that brought a decade of paralysis and stagnation since the 2011 revolution. Saied, a former constitutional lawyer, has shown little appetite for compromise since his landslide second-round election victory as a political neophyte in 2019.

Speaking on Sunday, Saied referred to reports that parliament members were planning a session by saying "whoever wants to go back is delusional ... let them meet in a spaceship".

Two other major parties, Heart of Tunisia and Karama, as well as a number of independent parliament members, are expected to join the session, meaning more than half of all members might be present.

However, the parliament in the Ottoman-era Bardo Palace in Tunis has been closed off by the army and police since Saied's intervention so any new session may have to take place online.

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