Tunisia’s vows to fight corruption, rejects talks with 'traitors'

2021-09-15 21:04:44
Tunisia’s vows to fight corruption, rejects talks with 'traitors'

"I will not deal with... traitors and those who pay money to offend their country. No dialogue with them," he said in a video posted online by the presidency.

“This is a state with two regimes, an apparent regime, that of the institutions, and a real regime, that of the mafia that governs Tunisia,” he said on Tuesday, “I will not engage in dialogue with thieves,” he added.

President Saied, a legal theorist and former law professor, was elected in 2019 and is seen as an authority on constitutional matters.

He invoked constitutional powers on July 25 to fire the prime minister, freeze parliament and strip MPs of their immunity, and assume all executive powers.

He has also taken control of the judiciary.

President Saied justified his decisions by citing Article 80 of the constitution, which envisages exceptional measures in case of “imminent danger” to national security.

His dramatic decision came amid chronic legislative infighting that had crippled governance. It was followed by a sweeping anti-corruption drive that has included detentions, travel bans and house arrests of politicians, businessmen and judicial officials.

Over the weekend he said there would soon be nominations for a new government and spoke of a reform of the constitution.

“The government is coming,” he said in his video message on Tuesday, “but we need to know what policy it will implement. The aim is to meet the demands of the Tunisian people.”

“Dealing with thieves or traitors is out of the question,” he added.

Ennahda party, the biggest in the suspended parliament, has called for a national dialogue to find a way forward after Saied’s thrust Tunisia into its biggest political crisis.

Ennahdha also says it “categorically rejects” any suspension of the constitution or “change to the political system, including through a referendum”.

Local media have reported that Ennahda had paid a foreign lobbying company, something the party has denied doing.

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