Tunisian President dismisses prime minister, parl. speaker

TEHRAN, Jul. 26 (MNA) – In an unexpected move and with the support of the military forces, the Tunisian president ousted the prime minister and speaker of parliament, suspending activities of the parliament.

Tunisia's president dismissed the government and froze parliament on Sunday in a dramatic escalation of a political crisis that his opponents labelled a coup, calling their own supporters to come onto the streets in protest, Reuters reported.

President Kais Saied said he would assume executive authority with the assistance of a new prime minister, in the biggest challenge yet to the democratic system Tunisia introduced in a 2011 revolution.

Crowds of people quickly flooded the capital and other cities to support Saied, cheering and honking car horns in scenes that recalled the revolution, which triggered the Arab Spring protests that convulsed the Middle East.

As his supporters filled the central Habib Bourguiba Avenue, the epicentre of the 2011 revolution, Saied joined them in the street, state television pictures showed.

Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi accused President Saied of launching “a coup against the revolution and constitution” after the move.

“We consider the institutions to be still standing and supporters of Ennahdha and the Tunisian people will defend the revolution,” Ghannouchi, who heads Ennahdha, told the Reuters news agency by phone.

According to Aljazeera, it is the biggest challenge yet to a 2014 constitution that split powers between the president, prime minister and parliament.

“Many people were deceived by hypocrisy, treachery and robbery of the rights of the people,” Saied said in a statement carried on state media.

“I warn any who think of resorting to weapons … and whoever shoots a bullet, the armed forces will respond with bullets,” he added.

He also suspended the immunity of members of parliament, insisting his actions were in line with the constitution.

The statement followed an emergency meeting at his palace after thousands of Tunisians marched in several cities, with much of the anger focused on the Ennahdha party, the biggest in parliament.

RHM/PR

News Code 176560

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