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Tunisia reassures EU, UN, Turkey after its president froze parliament

Tunisia’s foreign minister phoned his counterparts in Turkey, France, Italy, Germany, the EU and High Commissioner for Human Rights to reassure them after the president froze parliament and dismissed the government, the ministry said late on Tuesday.

It added that he explained that the extraordinary measures were temporary and that his counterparts pledged to continue supporting the young democracy.

Tunisian President Kais Saied ousted the government on Sunday and suspended parliament with help from the army, a move denounced as a coup by the country’s main parties, including Islamist Ennahda party.

He extended some existing measures aimed at countering the pandemic, including a curfew and internal travel bans, but which would also have the effect of dampening street opposition.

Saied’s action followed months of deadlock and disputes pitting him against Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and a fragmented parliament as Tunisia descended into an economic crisis exacerbated by one of Africa’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks.

The president also said in a statement that his actions are in line with Article 80 of the constitution, and also cited the article to suspend the immunity of members of parliament.

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