Tunisian President Kais Saied announced on Sunday that he had sacked the country’s prime minister and frozen parliament amid mass protests in the country, Reuters reports.
Why is this important: This decision, which comes on the occasion of the 64th anniversary of Tunisia’s independence, aggravates Saied’s long-standing feud with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and calls into question the 2014 constitution which “shares powers between the president , the prime minister and parliament, “according to Reuters.
The big picture: Saied defended his decision as constitutionally correct and said he would assume executive power alongside a new prime minister, according to Reuters.
- Saied also suspended the legal immunity of MPs.
Inventory: Hours earlier, Tunisia was rocked by mass protests in several cities that were fueled by public discontent with the government’s handling of the coronavirus and a worsening economic crisis, Reuters reports.
- In several towns, protesters and police clashed fiercely, as crowds stormed the offices of Ennahda, the largest party in parliament, while demanding the resignation of the prime minister and the dissolution of parliament, according to Al. Jazeera.
- Sunday’s protests were the biggest in months and the biggest to target Ennahda in years, according to Reuters.
What they say : “A lot of people have been deceived by hypocrisy, betrayal and the theft of people’s rights,” Saied said in a statement released by state media, according to Reuters.
- “I warn anyone who thinks of resorting to arms (…) and anyone who shoots a bullet, the armed forces will respond with bullets,” Saied added.
The Speaker of the Tunisian Parliament and Ennahda party leader Rached Ghannouchi told Reuters the president launched a “coup against the revolution and the constitution.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with new information.