Tunisian President Kais Saied dissolved Parliament, on Wednesday, eight months after suspending its work and assuming full executive and legislative authority in July 2021.
“Based on Article 72 of the Constitution, I announce today, at this historic moment, the dissolution of Parliament in order to preserve the people and state institutions,” Saeed said in a speech broadcast on Tunisian official television.
More than 120 deputies in the Tunisian parliament held a virtual meeting in defiance of the president, who suspended their work and dismissed the prime minister, and 116 voted yes, without rejection or reservation on a bill that cancels the exceptional measures taken by the president.
The Tunisian parliament includes 217 deputies.
Saeed’s decision came while chairing a meeting of the National Security Council. Criticizing the deputies’ meeting, the Tunisian president said, “It is a failed attempt at a coup and a conspiracy against the state’s internal and external security, and they will be criminally prosecuted.”
Saeed confirmed that he had asked the Minister of Justice to open a judicial investigation in the parliament’s meeting, warning against “any resort to violence and our military and civilian forces will face it.”
Article 72 of the 2014 constitution states that “the president of the republic is the head of the state, the symbol of its unity, guarantees its independence and continuity, and ensures respect for the constitution.”
Saeed had announced at the end of 2021 a political program that includes an electronic referendum that began at the beginning of this year and ended on March 20, in which nearly half a million Tunisians participated, which included answering questions related to the country’s political system and other topics including the economic and social situation.
It is expected that the committee will collect citizens proposals and prepare the outlines for a referendum on the constitution next July 25, and on December 17, 2022, new parliamentary elections will be organized to coincide with the anniversary of the 2011 revolution.
Since assuming power in the country, Saied has faced strong opposition from the Ennahda party, which had the largest parliamentary blocs, and considers the president’s actions a “coup against the constitution and the revolution.”
Many jurists also criticized Saeed and warned of an “authoritarian deviation” in the country.
The worsening political situation coincides with a severe economic and social crisis in the country.
In November, the Tunisian government submitted a new request for assistance to the International Monetary Fund.
The Fund requires that the assistance be accompanied by a program of economic and structural reforms.
On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund announced further progress in discussions with Tunisia, but this remains insufficient to provide financial support to the country, whose economic difficulties have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.