Tunisian President plans change politics system, suspend constitution-advisor

Tunisian President Kais Saied takes oath of office in Tunis, Tunisia, Oct. 23, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souiss/File photo

TUNIS, Sept. 9 (Reuters) – Tunisian President Kais Saied plans to suspend the constitution and the political system via a referendum, one of his advisers told Reuters on Thursday in the first clear indication of to be plans after moves to be critics called a coup d’état.

More than six weeks after Saied seized government powers, the prime minister and suspended parliament on July 25 he still doesn’t have one new government of made any broader statement of are long-term intentions.

“This system can’t continue… changing the system means changing the constitution through a referendum, maybe… the referendum requires logistical preparation,” said Walid Hajjem, an adviser to Saied.

He added that this was the president’s plan, that on the… final stage and expected to be formally unveiled soon, but he didn’t expand on what changes Saied was thinking.

Saied’s intervention has made Tunisia in plunged into a constitutional crisis, causing concern over the future of the democratic system it was adopted after the 2011 revolution die led to the Arab Spring.

Saied was generally expected to move to a presidential system of government that would reduce the role of the parliament, something that in has been discussed many times over the years of stalemate since the 2014 constitution was agreed upon.

He has defended his moves if necessary and said they were in line with constitution, promised to respect the Tunisians’ rights and said he will not become a dictator.

However, arrests of parliament members after Saied lifted their immunity and numerous travels bans against prominent people have alarmed some rights advocates.


Both domestic and international have pushed forces for Said to name one government and show how he wants to get out of the constitutional crisis caused through his intervention.

The head of Tunisia’s human rights league was quoted in a Tunisian newspaper on On Thursday he said that Saied had informed him that a new government was to be appointed this week.

Tunisia is facing met serious economic problems and an imminent threat to public finances, and had just started conversations with the International Monetary Fund for An new loan program when Saied the . expelled prime minister.

Further IMF talks could not go ahead place to a new government installed die credibly discuss fiscal reforms wanted by foreign lenders.

years of economic stagnation and declining public services, deteriorated by political paralysis, have soured many Tunisians on form of democracy die they had adopted after the revolution, and Saied’s intervention seemed to be widespread support.

This week ambassadors of the G7 group of rich democracies urged Saied to government and bring Tunisia back to a constitutional order in which one elected parliament played an important role.

Tunisia powerful work union, the UGTT, has also urged him to government and start dialogue to change the political system. UGTT officials were not immediately available for comment.

Officials of the largest party in parliamentthe moderate Islamist Ennahda, die has been most pronounced opponent of Saied’s moves, goods also not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Tarek Amara, writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Grant McCool

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