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Who are the main players in Tunisia’s political crisis?

Published: Updated:

Tunisian President Kais Saied on Sunday night suspended the country’s Parliament and sacked the Prime Minister, triggering reactions within the country and across the world, with many waiting to see what he will do next.

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Here’s a look at the key players in the country’s current crisis.

President Kais Saied

Tunisian President Kais Saied attends a talk on constitutional law during a state visit to Qatar at an event hosted by Lusail University, on November 16, 2020. (AFP)
Tunisian President Kais Saied attends a talk on constitutional law during a state visit to Qatar at an event hosted by Lusail University, on November 16, 2020. (AFP)

The President, Kais Saied, is - of course - at the center of the entire political crisis.

Since he suspended parliament and fired the country’s Prime Minister on Sunday, demonstrations erupted across Tunisia, consisting of supporters and opposition.

He was one of the first to declare his candidacy for the country’s 2019 elections, running without any political party affiliation, a move which attracted the country’s youth who were already disillusioned with the ruling elite.

Hichem Mechichi

Tunisia's Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi speaks during a government handover ceremony in Carthage on the eastern outskirts of the capital Tunis on September 3, 2020. (AFP)
Tunisia's Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi speaks during a government handover ceremony in Carthage on the eastern outskirts of the capital Tunis on September 3, 2020. (AFP)

Hichem Mechichi is the country’s recently ousted prime minister who was sacked by the president earlier this week with a term that lasted less than a year.

The 47-year-old served as the president’s first adviser in charge of Legal Affairs in February 2020, before he was elected as Prime Minister in September that year.

Rached Ghannouchi

Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, head of the  Islamist Ennahda, poses during an interview with Reuters in his office, in Tunis, Tunisia, March 9, 2021. Picture taken March 9, 2021. (Reuters)
Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, head of the Islamist Ennahda, poses during an interview with Reuters in his office, in Tunis, Tunisia, March 9, 2021. Picture taken March 9, 2021. (Reuters)

Rached Ghannouchi is the Tunisian Parliament Speaker and politician heading the Ennahda Party.

The Islamist party became Parliament’s largest party due to votes, which were arguably affected by the fact that it was one of the few established parties at the time of its latest formation, demonstrating just over 40 percent of vote in the 2019 Parliamentary election.

The party, which had the most seats in the now-ousted Parliament, is being investigated on suspicion of receiving foreign funds during the 2019 election campaign, a judicial source told Reuters on Wednesday.

Nabil Karoui

Tunisian politician and presidential candidate in the country's 2019 elections, Nabil Karoui. (Reuters)
Tunisian politician and presidential candidate in the country's 2019 elections, Nabil Karoui. (Reuters)

Nabil Karoui, Tunisian politician and former Parliament member, leads the country’s Heart of Tunisia Party, one of the parties that had a large majority of seats in the now-suspended Parliament, after Ennahda.

Karoui is one of the country’s key political figures. He ran for president in the 2019 elections and lost to Saied, finishing in second place.

Abir Moussi

Abir Moussi, Tunisian leader of the Free Destourian Party (PDL). (File photo: AFP)
Abir Moussi, Tunisian leader of the Free Destourian Party (PDL). (File photo: AFP)

Abir Moussi is another key figure in Tunisian politics, and is known for being vocal in opposing the Islamist Ennahda Party.

She has been leading the country’s Free Destourian Party (‘Destour’ translates to ‘Constitution’ in English) since 2016, after officially becoming a member of the right-wing party in 2013.

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