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Tunisia's President Kais Saied vows to appoint PM but emergency measures to remain

Tunisian President Kais Saied in a televised speech September 20 2021   -  
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Tunisian President Kais Saied announced on Monday that he would appoint a new head of government, while keeping in place the emergency measures he had decreed on July 25 to assume full powers.

"These exceptional measures will continue and a head of government will be appointed but on the basis of transitional provisions responding to the will of the people," Saied said in a nationally televised speech from Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of the 2011 Tunisian revolt that toppled the Ben Ali regime.

Mr. Saied, whose speech at the headquarters of the governorate of Sidi Bouzid was interrupted several times by a crowd chanting "the people want the dissolution of parliament," also announced that he would pass "a new electoral law" without disclosing its contours.

The November 2019 parliamentary elections, held under the current electoral law, resulted in a fragmented parliament that allowed the Islamist-inspired party Ennahdha, Mr. Saied's main opponent, to assume a pivotal role in a coalition.

On July 25, Mr. Saied dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, suspended the activities of parliament and also took over the judiciary, for a renewable month before extending these measures on August 24, "until further notice.

He later spoke of a forthcoming reform of the 2014 Constitution, which established a hybrid system, neither presidential nor parliamentary, a source of recurrent conflicts between the two powers.

A legal theorist, Kais Saied has presented himself since his surprise election by a large majority in late 2019 as the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution.

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