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Tunisian president says country being run by ‘mafia’

Kais Saied invoked power on July 25 to fire the prime minister, freeze parliament and strip MPs of their immunity, and assume all executive powers
Kais Saied invoked power on July 25 to fire the prime minister, freeze parliament and strip MPs of their immunity, and assume all executive powers
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16 Sep 2021 12:09:39 GMT9
16 Sep 2021 12:09:39 GMT9

TUNIS: Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has said that the country is being run by a “mafia” and pledged to fight corrupt politicians.

“This is a state with two regimes, an apparent regime, that of the institutions, and a real regime, that of the mafia that governs Tunisia,” Saied said in a video posted on the presidency’s Facebook page.

“I will not engage in dialogue with thieves,” he added.

Saied, a legal theorist and former law professor, was elected in 2019 and has billed himself as the ultimate interpreter of the constitution.

He invoked that power on July 25 to fire the prime minister, freeze parliament and strip MPs of their immunity, and assume all executive powers. He has also taken control of the judiciary.

His move came amid chronic legislative infighting that had crippled governance. It was followed by a sweeping anti-corruption drive that has included detentions, travel bans and house arrests of politicians, businessmen and judicial officials.

Saied has yet to appoint a new government or reveal a roadmap toward normalization, despite repeated demands by political parties.

Over the weekend he said there would soon be nominations for a new government and spoke of a reform of the constitution. “The government is coming,” he said on Tuesday, “but we need to know what policy it will implement. The aim is to meet the demands of the Tunisian people.”

“Dealing with thieves or traitors is out of the question,” he added. His moves have been criticized by judges and opponents.

But some Tunisians, exasperated by their political class and its perceived corruption, impunity and failure to improve living standards more than a decade since the country’s protests launched the Arab Spring, see them as a necessary evil.

He has justified his recent decisions by citing Article 80 of the constitution.

AFP

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