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Extending power grab, Tunisia’s President dissolves parliament

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Tunis: Tunisia’s President Kais Saied declared on Wednesday that the country’s parliament dissolved, eight months after suspending it in a power grab in July.

“Today, at this historic moment, I announce the dissolution of the Assembly of Representatives of the people, to preserve the state and its institutions,” he said.

He made the statement at a National Security Council meeting, only hours after legislators held an online plenary session and passed a bill opposing his “extraordinary measures.”

Saied called the move by parliament a “coup attempt” and that those behind it had “betrayed” the country.

On July 25, last year, the former law professor, who was elected in 2019 amid public outrage at the political elite, sacked the government, froze the assembly, and seized broad powers.

In what critics perceived as further blows to democracy in the birthplace of the 2011 Arab Spring upheavals, he later gave himself the ability to rule and legislate by decree and seized control of the courts.

Many Tunisians supported Saied’s initiatives at first, as they were tired of the often-stalemated political system that emerged from the overthrow of long-time tyrant Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

However, a growing number of detractors claim that he has led the country, which is also mired in a deep economic crisis, down a dangerous path back to dictatorship.

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