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Tunisia’s President Dissolves Suspended Parliament

Tunisia’s President Dissolves Suspended Parliament

Thursday, 31 March, 2022 - 06:30
Tunisian President Kais Saied (AP)

Tunisian President Kais Saied dissolved parliament on Wednesday, months after suspending it.

Following a meeting with the national security council, Saied announced that he had ordered the Minister of Justice to call on the attorney general to take action after the virtual plenary session of the suspended parliament.

Despite the chamber's suspension, over 120 lawmakers held an online meeting Wednesday, voting against the "exceptional measures" Saied has used since July.

Before the session, the legislators confirmed that they would move forward with holding the first plenary session since last summer, expecting over half of the members of parliament to participate in the session to vote against the "exceptional measures."

On Monday, the President issued a stern warning to parliamentarians that forces and institutions would act against "those who push the people into internal fighting."

MP Yamina Zoghlami asserted that the session would carry on, saying: "We are not afraid to defend a legitimate institution," and the people "did not withdraw their confidence."

Several political parties criticized Speaker Rached Ghannouchi after he called for a session of the suspended parliament, citing fears of turmoil and political division in the country.

The parliament's office created a new Facebook page named "the Assembly of the Representatives of the People" to announce the plenary session after the Presidency blocked the official page following the announcement of exceptional measures in the summer.

Constitutional law professor Rabeh Kharaifi said the public prosecution might question the MPs who participated in the session, and subject them to sentences ranging from five years to life imprisonment.

They could be accused of threatening internal peace and assaulting state security, he added.

The Ennhada movement office revealed that the 11th electoral conference would be organized in October to elect a new leader to succeed Ghannouchi, who confirmed that he was not running for the post again.

In 2020, a group of Ennahda leaders sent a letter to Ghannouchi asking him not to seek another term, and not to revise Chapter 31 of the party's bylaws to allow new members to lead the party.

The document was signed by 100 Ennahda figures, including members of the Shura Council, the Executive Office, the Parliamentary bloc, and the party's central offices.

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