|On Sunday evening, Tunisian President Kais Saied announced his decision to freeze Parliament, dismiss the government, and suspend the immunity of members of Parliament following the protests that have swept across the country against the current political and health crises. Tunisians took to the streets on the anniversary of the Republic Day, denouncing their discontent towards the government and demanding its resignation. According to the Presidential announcement, Saied will assume all executive authority with the assistance of a new Prime Minister. Saied’s opponents, Ennahda’s leader Rachid Ghannouchi above all, have accused the President of launching a coup. On his part, Saied said he based his decision on Article 80 of the Tunisian Constitution, which states that the President can “take any measures necessitated by the exceptional circumstances”, albeit only “after consultation with the Head of Government and the Speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People and informing the President of the Constitutional Court”. Overall, Sunday’s episode may be the biggest challenge to Tunisia’s democratic transition since the establishment of the 2014 Constitution. Meanwhile, there appears to be no end in sight for the country’s health crisis: the health system is about to collapse, Covid-19 cases are still high, and the vaccination campaign is proceeding very slowly. Overall, despite the high number of vaccines and medical supplies that have arrived from international donors, the situation on the ground is critical, with Tunisian citizens ultimately bearing the brunt of a political system that has lost their trust.
Experts from the ISPI MED network react to the political, social and health crisis unfolding in Tunisia.