By John Ikani
Tunisia’s president, Kais Saied, has issued a decree dissolving parliament, which has been suspended since last year, after it defied him by voting to repeal decrees he had used to assume near total power.
He made the announcement at a meeting of the National Security Council, hours after parliamentarians held a plenary session online and voted through a bill against his “exceptional measures”.
“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.
The president termed the parliament’s move a “coup attempt” adding that parliament had “lost its legitimacy” and had “betrayed” the nation
He went on to vow that the MPs responsible would be prosecuted.
The former law professor, elected in 2019 amid public anger against the political class, on July 25 last year sacked the government, froze the assembly and seized wide-ranging powers.
He later gave himself powers to rule and legislate by decree and seized control over the judiciary in what rivals saw as further blows to democracy in the birthplace of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.
Since then, anger at economic conditions in Tunisia has sparked street protests, some involving clashes with the police.