Tunisia’s crisis deepens after dissolving parliament

Tunisia’s political standoff continues, as it goes from one crisis to another. More political drama resurfaced as the Tunisian President Kais Saied decided to dissolve parliament.

His announcement on Wednesday was met by a defiant parliament which called to reconvene virtually. In December, Mr. Kais called for suspension of parliament.

More theatrics followed, as Saied blocked online video platforms Zoom and Microsoft Teams throughout Tunisia on Wednesday to stop the MPs from voting on a motion to suspend the president’s emergency rule.

He followed up by a late hour address after the vote, accusing the MPs of attempting to “stage a coup with foreign intervention”.

Saied also said that he would not hold elections within three months following the current constitution. Instead, he would proceed with drafting a new constitution, which will be put to a referendum on July 25, and then hold elections in December.

Wednesday’s parliamentary vote represents a serious challenge to the president who has been ruling almost unopposed since he took emergency powers eight months ago, after he sacked the government and suspended parliament, and also took control of the country’s top judicial body.

Saied, elected in 2019, has been adamant that his emergency powers are necessary to fight corruption.

This new standoff between the president and parliament the political map in Tunisia in uncertain legal territory as both sides claim authority.