G7 calls on Tunisia president to wind back power grab

Elected in late 2019, President Kais Saied invoked the constitution to extend his authority, dismissing prime minister Hichem Mechichi and freezing parliament.

FILE: Tunisia's President Kais Saie. Picture: AFP.

TUNIS, Tunisia - Ambassadors from G7 countries on Monday urged Tunisia's President Kais Saied to name a prime minister and allow parliament to resume, after he suspended the body in a July 25 power grab.

"We urge a swift return to a constitutional order" in Tunisia and for Saied to "convey a clear sense of the way forward," the diplomats from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US said in a joint statement.

They also called for a "significant role" for an elected parliament.

The ambassadors added that the replacement for fired prime minister Hichem Mechichi must "form a capable government able to address the immediate economic and health crises facing Tunisia", as well as open "dialogue about proposed constitutional and electoral reforms".

They also called for "continued public commitment to and respect for all Tunisians' civil, political, social and economic rights, and to the rule of law".

Elected in late 2019, Saied invoked the constitution to extend his authority, dismissing Mechichi and freezing parliament.

He extended that suspension "until further notice" last month.

He has yet to appoint a new government or reveal a "roadmap" for his decisions despite repeated demands by political parties.

The intervention has faced condemnation from judges and Saied's opponents, in particular the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, the largest bloc in parliament.

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