US NSA presses Tunisia’s president for swift return to democratic path

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Tunisian President Kais Saied invoked a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic and poor governance to dismiss the prime minister…reports Asian Lite News

National security adviser Jake Sullivan urged Tunisia’s president on Saturday to outline a swift return to the “democratic path” following his seizure of governing powers last Sunday, the White House said.

Tunisian President Kais Saied invoked a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic and poor governance to dismiss the prime minister, freeze parliament and seize executive control in a move welcomed by street rallies but which his opponents branded a coup.

In a phone call, Sullivan underscored to Saied the need for “rapidly forming a new government, led by a capable prime minister to stabilize Tunisia’s economy and confront the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as ensuring the timely return of the elected parliament,” the White House National Security Council said in a statement.

Last week, Kais Saied has appointed Ridha Gharsallaoui as the new Interior Minister.

During the inauguration ceremony on Thursday, the new Minister “took the constitutional oath before the President.”

Saied stressed that “this oath, in accordance with article 89, proves full compliance with the provisions of the Tunisian Constitution”, the statement added.

Gharsallaoui is specialised in the areas of intelligence, anti-terrorism and logistical support, according to local media reports.

Thursday’s appointment came four days after Saied removed Hichem Mechichi from the post of Prime Minister and acting Interior Minister, and suspended all activities of the Assembly of People’s Representatives, or Parliament.

Saied is temporarily heading the government until he appoints a new Prime Minister.

The President had also annulled the immunity of all Parliament members.

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