G7 group of industrialised nations has called on Tunisia’s President Kais Saied to name a new head of government as quickly as possible and return to a constitutional order based on an elected parliament.
In a statement posted on social media on behalf of the G7 on Monday, the British Embassy said, “We underline the urgent need to appoint a new head of government to form a capable government able to address the immediate economic and health crises facing Tunisia.”
The G7 reaction is seen as the most significant public expression of unease since Saied took power in July in a move his opponents called a coup.
Saied has not directly commented on the G7 statement, however, in remarks he made to the National Guard later that day, he said: “Tunisia is a sovereign country and sovereignty belongs to the people.”
Since the 2011 revolution that brought democracy to Tunisia, western democracies have been among the most important donors supporting the Tunisian public finances over the past decade.
On July 25, Saied, who was elected in 2019, announced that he had frozen parliament, lifted members’ immunity, and dismissed the prime minister. He also said he would assume executive authority along with a new minister.
He argued that his intervention was constitutional and necessitated by political paralysis, high COVID-19 rates, and protests. He promised to protect the rights of all citizens.
Six weeks on, however, he has failed to name a prime minister or clarify his plans, has indefinitely extended the emergency measures, and has proclaimed there will be no going back, even as Tunisians speculate whether he will amend the constitution.
The G7 statement said appointing a prime minister would “create space for an inclusive dialogue about proposed constitutional and electoral reforms” and added that democratic values would remain central to their relations with Tunisia.
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