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Tunisians react to president's extension of parliament suspension

Some Tunisians in Tunis August 24 2021   -  
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Tunisia

Tunisian President Kais Saied has extended the suspension of parliament until further notice, the presidency said in a statement, a month after freezing it in a move that opponents decried as a coup.

He also extended an order lifting immunity for the country's lawmakers.

Saied issued "a presidential decree extending the exceptional measures... regarding the suspension of Parliament and lifting of the parliamentary immunity of its MPs until further notice", said the statement issued late Monday.

He would deliver an address to the Tunisian people in the coming days, it added, without providing further details.

"It's been 10 years that (the people) have been silent and in just one month (of parliament suspension) some are disturbed. Who are these people? The corrupt and the people who plunder the country are the ones who are disturbed." Ahfaid a Tunis resident said.

But for another resident identified simply as Mahmud, this is too much time. "One whole month and he (Kais Saied) has not yet appointed a prime minister. If he (Kais Saied) wants to do a good thing, then he must quickly appoint one. And if he is against the parliament, then he must hold an election with a different electoral law." he stressed.

Tunisia, hailed as a rare democratic success story in the Middle East and North Africa, is mired in a political crisis compounded by dire economic woes and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Saied's shock intervention on July 25, in which he sacked the government and said he was suspending parliament for a month, sparked uncertainty for the North African country.

He said the measures were necessary to prevent the country from collapse.

He also cited powers he says were granted by the constitution, but he has yet to reveal a "roadmap" for his decisions despite repeated demands by political parties.

The intervention was condemned by judges and Saied's opponents, in particular the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, the largest bloc in parliament.

Several politicians, businessmen and judges, as well as members of parliament -- who lost their immunity after Saied suspended the legislature -- have said they were banned from travelling abroad or put under house arrest without warning.

Their claims have sparked a chorus of condemnation, with critics denouncing "arbitrary" and "unjustified" measures.

These may be disturbing for them but then for Rym a young Tunisian woman "Kais Saied needs to take his time in order to appoint the right person". "We have spent 10 years with ups and downs and got nothing from that. He must take his time and choose a competent person"

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