Tunisia’s president assigns ally to oversee interior ministry: Sources

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Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has assigned Khaled Yahyaoui, the Director General of the Presidential Security unit, to supervise the Interior Ministry after dismissing the government on Sunday, two security sources said.

President Saied announced Sunday the suspension of parliament and dismissal of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi following a day of protests against the ruling party, who condemned the move as a “coup d’état”.

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Thousands of Tunisians had marched in several cities protesting against the Ennahda party, criticizing what they said were government failures in the North African nation and crippling coronavirus rates.

Since Saied was elected president in 2019, he has been locked in a showdown with Mechichi and parliament speaker Rached Ghannouchi, a rivalry which has blocked ministerial appointments and diverted resources from tackling Tunisia’s many economic and social problems.

Car horns sounded after Saied announced parliament’s suspension following an emergency meeting at his palace.

“The constitution does not allow for the dissolution of parliament, but it does allow for its work to be suspended,” the president said, citing Article 80 which permits such a measure in case of “imminent danger.”

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