Tunisia's speaker says the suspended parliament will inevitably return

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Tunisia's speaker, Rached Ghannouchi, said on Thursday that the suspended parliament will inevitably return, in the clearest challenge to President Kais Saied, who suspended Parliament in July and seized control of most powers, a move his opponents described as a coup.

Ghannouchi said in an opposition meeting that Tunisians will “get rid of dictatorship” and called on the opposition to unite to face the setback.

Tunisia's president this month dissolved the Supreme Judicial Council, one of the remaining institutions in Tunisia that was able to work independently of him.

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Saied cemented his grip over the judiciary last week with a decree that lets him dismiss judges or block their promotion, helping consolidate his power after he seized executive authority last summer.

Responding to journalists, Saied said during a visit to Brussels on Thursday, “Just as (French) General De Gaulle said, “Not at this age, I'm going to start a dictatorship.”

Ghannouchi, the leader of hardline Ennahda party did not announce further details about plan to return parliament, but it is likely that it will be through an invitation to a public session via video.

Last week, Ghannouchi said he would meet a European parliamentary delegation that will visit Tunisia on Feb. 20, as part of meetings with civil society, politicians and lawmakers from the suspended parliament.

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