Tunisian president sacks premier, defense minister

Tunisian president sacks premier, defense minister

Interim justice minister was also relieved of duties

News Service AA

Tunisian President Kais Saied on Monday issued a presidential decree to sack the country’s premier and defense minister.

The Presidency said in a statement that Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, Defense Minister Ibrahim Bartagi and interim Justice Minister Hasna Ben Slimane were relieved of their duties as of July 25.

On Sunday, Saied ousted Michichi’s government, froze parliament and assumed the executive authority with the assistance of a new prime minister.

In his Sunday’s speech, the Tunisian president said he will suspend the immunity of all members of parliament and take control of the general prosecutor’s office. He claimed that he has taken the decisions after consulting Mechichi and Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi.

Ghannouchi, for his part, described Saied's moves as nothing but a "full-fledged coup" against the Tunisian constitution, revolution, and freedoms in the country.

Tunisia has been gripped by a deep crisis since Jan. 16, when Mechichi announced a cabinet reshuffle but Saied refused to hold a ceremony to swear in the new ministers. Tunisia also faces an unprecedented spread of the COVID-19 strains in most states, causing a rapid spread of the virus.

Tunisia is seen as the only Arab country that succeeded in carrying out a democratic transition among other Arab countries that also witnessed popular revolutions that toppled the ruling regimes, including Egypt, Libya, and Yemen.

Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara


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