Tunisia’s president dissolved Parliament on Wednesday, after lawmakers voted to dam emergency powers he had given himself final yr, making an attempt to harden his sole grip on the federal government and courting what may very well be the nation’s severest political disaster because the 2011 revolution.
Final July, amid mass protests over poverty, corruption and the dealing with of the pandemic, President Kais Saied suspended Parliament, dismissed his personal prime minister and different officers, and granted himself extraordinary powers, in what his critics denounced as a coup.
However on Wednesday, lawmakers held an internet assembly, defying Mr. Saied’s warning that the session was unlawful, and a majority voted towards his energy seize, which they mentioned violated the nation’s Structure.
Shortly afterward, in a gathering of his Nationwide Safety Council, the president mentioned the nation was going through “uncommon” instances.
“We live right this moment, sadly, by way of a coup try, however it has failed,” he mentioned, then introduced that he was dissolving Parliament “to guard the federal government, the establishment and the Tunisian folks.” His workplace posted video of his statement on Fb.
His authorities mentioned it might examine the lawmakers who had taken half in Wednesday’s session.
In 2011, a well-liked rebellion in Tunisia toppled the dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in energy — the primary of protests within the area that got here to be generally known as the Arab Spring. However Tunisia’s was the one lasting democracy to emerge from that heady upheaval, and it has been a troubled and fragile experiment in standard rule.
Mr. Saied, a former constitutional regulation professor who was seen as being above the mire of politics, was elected in a landslide in 2019. However he has turn out to be steadily extra autocratic, ruling by decree, jailing opponents, suspending components of the Structure, dismissing the Supreme Judicial Council and proscribing press freedom.
Political unrest continues to shake the nation, stoked by partisan divisions and a sinking financial system. The president has promised to have a brand new Structure drafted and put to a referendum this yr, adopted by the election of a brand new Parliament.