President Saied Extends Tunisia’s State of Emergency to January 30

Tunisia: Critics of President Kais Saied Jailed in Crackdown (News Central TV)
TUNIS, TUNISIA – DECEMBER 13: (—-EDITORIAL USE ONLY – MANDATORY CREDIT – “TUNISIAN PRESIDENCY / HANDOUT” – NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS—-) Tunisian President Kais Saied chairs a ministerial cabinet meeting at Carthage Palace in Tunis, Tunisia on December 13, 2021. ( Tunisian Presidency – Anadolu Agency )

Tunisian President Kais Saied has extended the country’s state of emergency until January 30, 2023. This comes after parliamentary elections on Friday that saw one of the lowest turnouts ever recorded worldwide.

This is the second state of emergency extension Saied has implemented in 2022. He extended it in February to the end of last year.

President Kais Saied

On November 24, 2015, a national state of emergency was proclaimed following an attack in Tunis that claimed the lives of 12 presidential guards. The attack was attributed to the Islamic State (IS) organisation.

IS fighters assaulted the Bardo museum in the nation’s capital and a beach resort in Sousse the same year, resulting in the deaths of 59 tourists and a police officer.

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Numerous incidents have taken occurred in the nation of North Africa since the declaration of the state of emergency, including a 2020 suicide attack in Tunis that left one police officer dead and five others injured.

Rights organisations have expressed concern that the ongoing state of emergency is being utilised to crack down on political opponents and activists, even though the action was made to address the security issue soon after the incident.

Human Rights Watch said in a report published in February that “the imposition of exceptional measures under the state of emergency” included concealing secret detentions.

Saied’s ascension to power last year, which his detractors have dubbed a constitutional coup, left supporters of democracy in the nation with few choices.

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Saied pulled through a constitutional referendum that established his one-man rule earlier this year, following the resignation of the prime minister and suspension of the legislature in July 2021.

However, the poor turnout in this month’s parliamentary elections—less than 9% of eligible voters—stands in stark contrast to the results from 2019, when the turnout was 42%. It also raises a lot of concerns regarding Saied’s continued hold on authority.

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