Tunisia’s Islamist Forces Enraged as President Sacks Prime Minister, Ministers of Defence, Justice

Africa

Tunisian President Kais Saied dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and froze the country’s Parliament on Sunday in the wake of large-scale anti-government protests over the economy and handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Kais Saied of Tunisia issued a formal decree Monday sacking Prime Minister Mechichi, and firing Defence Minister Brahim Bartagi and acting Minister of Justice Hasna ben Slimane.

The decree, published in a communique by the presidential administration’s press office, follows Saied’s announcement on Sunday that he would be removing the prime minister and freezing Parliament for 30 days.

Sunday’s decision included a suspension of immunity for all members of Tunisia’s Parliament, the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, and an order banning dozens of lawmakers from any attempt to leave the country.

Saied warned Ennahda and others against any provocations, saying that if anyone “fires a single bullet, our forces will respond with a rain of bullets.”

Tunisians took to the streets of multiple cities over the weekend demanding that the government step down. Protests are thought to have been fuelled by the Mechichi government’s failure to improve basic services, long-running concerns over unemployment, and frustrations related to the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Following Saied’s decision to fire the head of government, troops surrounded the Parliament building in Tunis…

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