Tunisian president dissolves parliament, prolonging power grab | Political news

Kais Saied said the move, eight months after parliament was suspended, was aimed at “preserving the state and its institutions”.

Tunisian President Kais Saied announced on state television that he was dissolving the country’s parliament, eight months after suspending it in a July takeover.

“Today, at this historic moment, I announce the dissolution of the Assembly of People’s Representatives, to preserve the state and its institutions,” he said on Wednesday.

He made the announcement during a meeting of the National Security Council, hours after parliamentarians held an online plenary session and voted on a bill against his “exceptional measures”.

Following the online session, Tunisian Minister of Justice Leila Jeffal asked the Attorney General to open a judicial investigation against members of a suspended parliament for “conspiracy against state security”, local media said.

Saied denounced the parliament’s decision as an “attempted coup” and said those responsible had “betrayed” the nation.

Tunisian parliamentarians voted on Wednesday to repeal presidential decrees suspending their chamber and giving Kais Saied near total power, openly defying him in an online session, despite calling their meeting illegal.

The former law professor, elected in 2019 amid public anger against the political class, sacked the government on July 25, froze the assembly and seized extensive powers.

He later gave himself the power to rule and legislate by decree and seized control of the judiciary in what his rivals saw as further blows to democracy in the cradle of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

Saied’s measures were initially welcomed by many Tunisians tired of the often deadlocked political system that emerged from the revolution that toppled longtime leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

But a growing number of critics said he had moved the country, which is also facing a crushing economic crisis, down a dangerous path towards autocracy.

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