With President Said’s removal of Prime Minister Mečić and the suspension of the parliament, Tunisia is again facing political and economic turmoil.
Tunisia, often hailed as the so-called successful model of the Arab Spring, is once again facing political and economic turmoil.
On Sunday, President Keith Said removed the prime minister and Suspension of parliament.
He also suspended the parliamentarian’s immunity, insisting that his actions were constitutional.
Said said in his speech that he will assume administrative power with the assistance of the new prime minister.
This announcement was condemned by his rivals as an attack on democracy, but was welcomed by others on the streets across the country.
Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of the Baath Party, the largest party in the parliament, accused Said of launching a “coup d’etat against the revolution and the constitution.”
The move was made after large-scale demonstrations in several cities in Tunisia earlier on Sunday.
After the COVID-19 case escalated economic problems, the protesters demanded that the government step down. The office of the Ennahdha party was also attacked.
The protesters threw stones and chanted slogans, demanding that Prime Minister Hichem Mečić step down and dissolve the parliament.
Witnesses said that the protesters rushed or tried to rush into Ennahdha’s offices in Monastir, Sfax, Elkhev and Sousse, while in Tuzer they set fire to the party’s local headquarters .
With soaring unemployment and declining national services, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated Tunisia’s economic difficulties.
The growing political division and Tunisia’s weak economy are consistent with the ongoing struggle for dominance in the Tunisian parliament.
Said said that he is trying to avoid an imminent financial crisis amidst the weeks-long surge in new coronary pneumonia cases and rising mortality.
Earlier this month, the Tunisian Ministry of Health stated that the country’s healthcare system “collapsed” under the weight of the pandemic, killing more than 17,000 people out of a population of approximately 12 million.
The challenge of ten years
Saied and the parliament were elected in separate popular votes in 2019, while Mechichi took office last year, replacing another short-lived government.
But this is not the first time a short-lived government has emerged in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution led to the overthrow of long-time President Ben Ali.
After months of failed attempts to form a government, Elyes Fakhfakh became prime minister in January 2020, but was forced to step down due to corruption scandals within a few months.
A few months later, Mechichi was appointed as prime minister, but the political dispute with Said has been entangled for more than a year. His fragile government went from crisis to crisis as it struggled to respond to the pandemic and the need for urgent reforms.
In the past decade, the country has faced a series of challenges, including repeated attacks by the Islamic State of ISIL (ISIS), which destroyed the country’s important tourism industry and was the main cause of the economic recession, which was approaching the crisis point in 2017 .