Tunisian army stops speaker, deputies from entering parliament

Tunis, Jul 26 (EFE).- Tunisia’s army stopped parliamentary speaker Rached Ghannouchi and several lawmakers from entering the parliament building on Monday, hours after the country’s president froze the legislative body’s functions.

A video posted on the Islamist Ennahda movement’s social media accounts showed Ghannouchi and parliament first vice-president Samira Chaouachi asking the army forces deployed outside the building to allow them access, but to no avail.

In a statement, Ennahda called on citizens to protest against president Kais Saied’s move, which the country’s largest political party described as a “coup against the revolution.”

“This is a blow against Tunisian democracy and its constitution. Tunisia is the only success story of the Arab Spring and this story does not end there,” the statement said.

Thousands of Tunisians took to streets to celebrate Saied’s announcement, which also included relieving prime minister Hichem Mechichi of his position and lifting immunity from all members of parliament.

Saied, an ex-law professor who took office in 2019, said he would take over executive power during the transition period with the help of the new prime minister that he would appoint, citing Article 80 of the constitution that gives the president the right to take exceptional measures in case of a ”grave danger.”

Several offices of the Ennahda party were attacked and set on fire during protests that took place on Sunday in several parts of the country to demand the government resign and the parliament be dissolved amid deepening political and economic woes.

In 2011, the Tunisian revolution that ignited the Arab Spring revolts of 2010-2011 toppled long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.EFE


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