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Tunisia’s Saied vows to name PM but emergency measures remain

Without naming his opponents, Saied accused “traitors” of “selling the country.”

Published: Updated:

Tunisian President Kais Saied vowed Monday to appoint a prime minister but said emergency measures that he announced in July would remain in place.

“These exceptional measures will continue and a prime minister will be named but on the basis of transitional rulings responding to the will of the people,” he said in a televised speech from the city of Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of Tunisia’s 2011 revolution.

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On July 25, Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament, removed lawmakers’ immunity and put himself in charge of the prosecution.
Saied has since renewed the measures for a second 30-day period, and had not responded to calls for a roadmap for lifting them.

Addressing a large crowd in Sidi Bouzid on Monday, he repeated his insistence that his actions were in line with the constitution, which allows the head of state to take “exceptional measures” in case of an “imminent danger” to national security.

Without naming his opponents, Saied accused “traitors” of “selling the country.”

“This is not an issue of a government but of an entire system,” he said.

The crowd repeatedly interrupted his speech with the shouts of “the people want parliament to be dissolved.”

Saied, a political outsider, came to power in 2019 on a wave of public outrage against political parties widely seen as corrupt and self-serving.

On Monday he delivered his speech in front of the Sidi Bouzid municipal headquarters where Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit and vegetable salesman angered by police harassment, set himself ablaze in December 2010.

His act triggered an unprecedented uprising that left some 300 people dead and toppled long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, sparking a string of revolts across the region.