Tunisians protest against poverty, high prices and food shortages

Tunisians protest against poverty, high prices and food shortages

TUNIS, (Reuters) - Hundreds of Tunisians protested on Sunday night in the capital against poverty, high prices and the shortage of some foodstuff, escalating pressure on the government of President Kais Saied, as the country suffers an economic and political crisis. Tunisia is struggling to revive its public finances as discontent grows over inflation running at nearly 9% and a shortage of many food items in stores because the country cannot afford to pay for some imports. The North African nation is also in the midst of a severe political crisis since Saied seized control of the executive power last…
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Tunisia’s anti-terrorism police detain former prime minister Ali Laarayedh

Tunisia’s anti-terrorism police detain former prime minister Ali Laarayedh

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's anti-terrorism police detained for one day Ali Laarayedh, a former prime minister and senior official in the Islamist opposition Ennahda party, after an investigation into suspicions of sending jihadists to Syria, lawyers revealed. In the same case, the police postponed the hearing of Tunisia's Islamist opposition leader and speaker of the dissolved parliament Rached Ghannouchi to midday on Tuesday, after waiting for about 14 hours. It is expected that Laarayedh will appear before a judge on Wednesday, lawyer Mokthar Jmayi told Reuters. "We are shocked..the file is completely empty and without any evidence", Samir Dilou, another…
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Tunisia hikes cooking gas, fuel prices in bid to cut subsidies

Tunisia hikes cooking gas, fuel prices in bid to cut subsidies

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia said on Saturday it is raising the price of cooking gas cylinders by 14% and fuel by 3% as part of a plan to reduce energy subsidies, a policy change wanted by the country’s international lenders. The Energy Ministry said the cooking gas price will increase to 8.800 dinars from 7.750 dinars, in the first raise in 12 years. The gasoline price will be raised on Tuesday to 2.400 dinars per litre from 2.330 dinars, a 3% increase, the ministry said in a statement. The rise in fuel prices is the fourth this year. Tunisia expects…
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Tunisia hopes to reach deal with IMF by end of October

Tunisia hopes to reach deal with IMF by end of October

TUNIS, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Tunisia hopes to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund by the end of October, the government's spokesperson said on Friday, after a wage deal agreed with unions was seen as a key step towards getting IMF support. The government and the powerful UGTT union on Thursday signed a deal to boost public sector wages by 5%, a step that may ease social tensions. But they did not announce any further agreement on reforms needed for an IMF bailout. "The Tunisian negotiating team was in contact yesterday with (the) IMF regarding the last terms…
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UPDATED: Tunisian govt and top union agree public sector wage increase deal

UPDATED: Tunisian govt and top union agree public sector wage increase deal

TUNIS, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Tunisia's government and a powerful labour union have agreed a public sector wage increase over the next three years, part of their talks on wider economic reforms aimed at securing a foreign bailout for state finances. UGTT union officials and a state news agency said on Wednesday the agreement would lift wages for state employees by 3.5% a year from 2022-25, a move that could ease escalating social and economic tensions. The union officials said the deal will be signed on Thursday, without giving further details. It was not initially clear whether the deal would…
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Death toll from migrant shipwreck off Tunisia increases

Death toll from migrant shipwreck off Tunisia increases

TUNIS (Reuters) - The death toll from a migrant shipwreck off Tunisia last week has risen to 11, most of them Tunisians, as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy, TAP state news agency said. It added that five more bodies were recovered on Saturday night by Coast Guard and Navy units as part of a search operation for migrants who went missing in the wake of a shipwreck off Chebba, Mahdia, on Sept 6. The coastguard rescued 14 migrants who had been on the overcrowded boat, which sank off Chebba town in Mahdia region. 12 other still missing…
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Tunisia constitution giving president wider powers comes into effect

Tunisia constitution giving president wider powers comes into effect

Tunisia's new constitution giving the president far greater powers is to come into effect after the official electoral commission announced final results on Tuesday for last month's referendum. The 96% yes vote in the referendum, with 31% of the electorate taking part, was largely unchanged from the preliminary results announced last month. Opponents of President Kais Saied say the new constitution will unravel Tunisia's democratic gains from the 2011 revolution by giving him nearly unchecked powers. They have criticised the process by which he wrote the constitution as illegal and unilateral and have raised concerns over the legitimacy of the…
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Tunisian government, unions agree to talks on IMF reform programme

Tunisian government, unions agree to talks on IMF reform programme

TUNIS, (Reuters) - Tunisia's government and both its main labour and commerce unions agreed to start talks on Monday over economic reforms required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a rescue programme. State news agency TAP reported that Prime Minister Najla Bouden, UGTT labour union chief Noureddine Taboubi and UTICA commerce union chief Samir Majoul had agreed a "social contract" to tackle national challenges, citing a government statement. The UGTT reposted the statement on its Facebook page. The labour union, which represents a vast syndicate of workers, has been a staunch critic of IMF economic reforms proposed by the…
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Six Tunisians die after a boat carrying illegal migrants capsized

Six Tunisians die after a boat carrying illegal migrants capsized

 (Reuters) - Six illegal migrants died off the coast of Tunisia after a boat carrying 30 Tunisian nationals capsized, news agency TAP reported. The drowned included three women and three children and the boat capsized as it attempted to sail from Tunisia towards Italy, TAP added. Coastguard, navy and civil protection units were able to rescue 20 people, while the search continues for others, the report said. Reporting by Lilian Wagdy; Editing by Marguerita Choy Image by Gerhard Lipold from Pixabay
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U.S. voices concern over Tunisian democracy

U.S. voices concern over Tunisian democracy

TUNIS (Reuters) - The United States raised concerns over Tunisia's democracy after President Kais Saied introduced a new constitution giving himself far more powers, but the broad reaction among Western democracies was muted. The new constitution was endorsed in a referendum the president held on Monday, a year after Saied moved to shut down the elected parliament and start ruling by decree. "Tunisia has experienced an alarming erosion of democratic norms over the past year and reversed many of the Tunisian people's hard-won gains since 2011," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday, referring to the 2011…
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Tunisian officials say new constitution passed in vote with low turnout

Tunisian officials say new constitution passed in vote with low turnout

A new Tunisian constitution giving far more power to President Kais Saied passed in a referendum with a 30.5% turnout, the electoral commission said, tightening his grip in what critics fear is a march to a new era of autocracy. The commission said 95% of voters approved the constitution in Monday's referendum boycotted by opposition groups, which accuse Saied of staging a coup against the young democracy that emerged from Tunisia's Arab Spring uprising of 2011. Opposition groups, which have struggled to counter Saied since he began amassing power a year ago, accused the authorities of inflating the numbers and…
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Tunisians vote on constitution expanding president’s power

Tunisians vote on constitution expanding president’s power

TUNIS, July 25 (Reuters) - Tunisians began voting on Monday in a referendum on a new constitution that critics of President Kais Saied fear will maul the democracy that emerged from a 2011 revolution by handing him nearly total power. The vote is being held on the first anniversary of Saied's ousting of an elected parliament, when he established emergency rule and began governing by fiat. Few people were out when polls opened at 0500 GMT, but at Rue Marseilles polling station in downtown Tunis, Illyes Moujahed was first in line, saying Saied was the only hope. "I'm here to save Tunisia…
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FACTBOX-How Tunisia’s president has tightened his grip on power

FACTBOX-How Tunisia’s president has tightened his grip on power

TUNIS, July 24 (Reuters) - President Kais Saied has been steadily consolidating his grip over Tunisia since seizing broad powers a year ago. As he puts a new constitution to a referendum on Monday, critics believe it will formalise what they see as a march to one-man rule that has trashed the democratic gains set in train by the 2011 revolution. Saied says he aims to save a country that was mired in political paralysis and economic malaise, by remaking its governing system and overhauling the 2014 constitution. Here are the ways he has tightened his grip, starting from July…
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Hundreds protest Tunisian new constitution referendum

Hundreds protest Tunisian new constitution referendum

TUNIS (Reuters) - Hundreds of protesters gathered in central Tunis on Saturday to demonstrate against a referendum to be held on Monday on a new constitution that they reject as illegal. President Kais Saied published the draft constitution, giving himself far more powers, reducing the role of the parliament and judiciary, and removing most checks on his power, less than a month ago. The referendum is the latest move in what his foes call a march to one-man rule since he moved against the elected parliament a year ago, replacing the government and moving to rule by decree in what…
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Tunisians protest against referendum for controversial new constitution

Tunisians protest against referendum for controversial new constitution

Tunisian police blocked hundreds of demonstrators from reaching electoral commission offices on Thursday as protesters took to the streets against a referendum on a new constitution that would expand the president's executive powers. President Kais Saied proposed the new constitution this month that would limit the role of parliament and boost his own rule. The constitution will be put to a referendum on July 25 in a vote most political parties have already rejected.   Saied has ruled by decree since last summer, when he dissolved the parliament and the democratic 2014 constitution, moving towards one-man rule and vowing to…
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Tunisian opposition leader faces money laundering allegations

Tunisian opposition leader faces money laundering allegations

TUNIS, July 6 (Reuters) - Tunisia's main opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi has been summoned by a judge over money laundering allegations, his Ennahda party said on Wednesday, accusing the authorities of targeting him for political reasons. The July 19 summons is to answer questions about the allegations, which Ennahda say are untrue and a result of "distortion and fabrication". Reuters could not immediately reach a judiciary spokesperson. Ghannouchi has emerged as the loudest critic of Kais Saied since the president seized broad powers last year, moved to rule by decree and ousted the elected parliament in which the Ennahda leader is speaker.…
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Tunisian constitution panel head blasts president’s draft

Tunisian constitution panel head blasts president’s draft

TUNIS, July 3 (Reuters) - The head of Tunisia's constitution committee blasted a proposed constitution published by President Kais Saied, local media reported on Sunday, reinforcing opposition fears that Saied was seeking to impose a unilateral charter. Sadok Belaid, a former constitutional law professor was named by Saied to draft a "new constitution for a new republic", said Saied's version was dangerous and did not resemble the first draft proposed by the constitution committee, the Assabeh newspaper said. Belaid said the draft constitution published by the president contains chapters that could pave the way for "a disgraceful dictatorial regime". The president has…
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Analysis: Tunisia’s Saied poised for more power but economy crumbles

Analysis: Tunisia’s Saied poised for more power but economy crumbles

TUNIS  (Reuters) - President Kais Saied looks on course to tighten his grip on Tunisia through a constitutional referendum in July, but it could prove to be a poisoned chalice as the economy sinks deeper into crisis and opposition to his rule widens. Nearly a year since Saied began amassing power, the July 25 referendum is widely expected to boost his authority, in what critics see as a march to one-man rule that has unpicked the democratic gains of Tunisia's 2011 "Arab Spring" uprising. For Saied, overhauling the 2014 constitution is a corrective to political dysfunction which had afflicted Tunisia…
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UPDATED: Tunisian president’s critics assail his constitution plan

UPDATED: Tunisian president’s critics assail his constitution plan

TUNIS, July 1 (Reuters) - President Kais Saied is trashing Tunisia's democracy with a draft constitution that he announced overnight and will put to a referendum next month, his critics warned on Friday, accusing him of assuming "royal powers". Saied is remaking the political system after seizing near total executive control last summer, dismissing the parliament and moving to rule by decree in a move his critics call a coup. He says the changes are needed to save Tunisia from a prolonged political and economic crisis and that the new constitution will respect individual freedoms and mark a new Tunisian republic. Abid…
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Tunisian judges extend strike over sackings for fourth week

Tunisian judges extend strike over sackings for fourth week

Tunisian judges decided to extend their national strike for a fourth week in protest against a decision by President Kais Saied to sack dozens of them, a joint statement by the judges unions in the country said. It said the fourth week of the strike will start on June 27. Saied dismissed 57 judges on June 1, accusing them of corruption and protecting terrorists - charges that the Tunisian Judges' Association said were mostly politically motivated.
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Tunisian party says will not recognise any deal with international lenders

Tunisian party says will not recognise any deal with international lenders

TUNIS, (Reuters) - One of Tunisia's main political parties, the Constitutional Free Party, said it would not recognise any agreement that Tunis makes with international lenders in exchange for unpopular reforms, the latest threat to a possible deal with the International Monetary Fund. The director of the Middle East at the IMF, Jihad Azour, will visit Tunisia on Monday and meet President Kais Saied, in an indication that official negotiations could start soon over a rescue package. Tunisia, which faces a financial crisis, is seeking a deal on a $4 billion loan from the IMF in return for an unpopular reform package…
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Tunisia’s Saied unpicks young ‘Arab Spring’ democracy

Tunisia’s Saied unpicks young ‘Arab Spring’ democracy

President Kais Saied has gathered nearly all state power in his hands after dismantling much of Tunisia's young democracy over 11 turbulent months. But as he prepares for a referendum to approve his changes, challenges loom ever larger. A former law professor with a stiff public manner, Saied is rewriting the constitution to enshrine a presidential system. But, meanwhile, Tunisia's economy is collapsing and opposition to his rule is growing. The powerful UGTT labour union staged a strike on Thursday over plans for economic reform. Protests against him have drawn thousands to the streets, and all the main political parties…
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Tunisians protest against constitution referendum as opposition grows

Tunisians protest against constitution referendum as opposition grows

TUNIS, June 18 (Reuters) - Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Tunis on Saturday in opposition to a referendum on a new constitution called by President Kais Saied that would cement his hold on power. The protest led by Abir Moussi, leader of the Free Constitutional Party, reflected growing opposition to Saied since he seized executive power last year, dissolving parliament and ruling by decree in a move opponents called a coup. Thousands marched from Bab Souika Square in the capital towards Kasbah Square, waving Tunisian flags and chanting slogans such as "We want to take back our kidnapped country."…
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Strike paralyses Tunisia

Strike paralyses Tunisia

TUNIS, June 16 (Reuters) - A powerful labour union brought much of Tunisia to a standstill on Thursday as it went on strike over government economic reform plans, a new challenge to President Kais Saied as opposition to his rule mounts and a financial crisis looms. Public transport ground to halt and flights were cancelled at Tunis-Carthage Airport. National carrier Tunisair said it had postponed all flights. The walkout by the UGTT union followed government proposals for a wage freeze and subsidy cuts, steps designed to yield a badly needed IMF deal for a $4 billion loan to ease a crisis in…
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EU disburses 162 million euro grant to Tunisia

EU disburses 162 million euro grant to Tunisia

CAIRO, June 16 (Reuters) - The European Union had disbursed a 162 million euro ($168.64 million) grant to Tunisia as a part of a program to support government reforms in areas like investment liberalization, the Tunisian economy and planning ministry said in a statement on Thursday. The European Union also disbursed a 300 million euro ($319.74 million) loan to Tunisia in May in the first significant Western financial aid to Tunisia since President Kais Saied took control last summer. ($1 = 0.9606 euros) (Reporting by Alaa Swilam; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)
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Tunisia international flights to be cancelled on Thursday – union

Tunisia international flights to be cancelled on Thursday – union

TUNIS, June 15 (Reuters) - All international flights to and from Tunisia will be cancelled on Thursday due to a national public strike called by the powerful UGTT union, a union official told Reuters on Wednesday. The union called a nationwide strike by employees in state companies in "defence of workers' rights" after a government decision to freeze wages as part of a reform package aimed at reaching a deal on a $4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. "All international and domestic flights will also stop, starting from 00.00 tonight. The strike will include all cruises as well," said Wajih…
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Photo Story: The Choreographic Days of Carthage

Photo Story: The Choreographic Days of Carthage

Tunisian dancers perform choreographies by Tunisian choreographer Hela Fattoumi and French choreographer Eric Lamoureux during the 4th edition of the Carthage Choreographic Days in Tunis, Tunisia. The event runs from 11 to 18 June 2022. Via EPA-EFE/MOHAMED MESSARA
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Tunisian judges extend their strike, journalist arrested

Tunisian judges extend their strike, journalist arrested

TUNIS, (Reuters) - Tunisian judges extended their strike for a second week after President Kais Saied refused to reverse a decision to dismiss dozens of them, judges' unions said in a joint statement on Saturday. Saied dismissed 57 judges this month, accusing them of corruption and protecting terrorists, charges that the Tunisian Judges' Association said were mostly politically motivated. The first strike began on June 4. Saied's decision sparked a wave of domestic and foreign criticism. Ten international rights groups accused him of dealing "a deep blow to judicial independence". Meanwhile, Tunisian police arrested journalist Salah Attia, who said on Al Jazeera…
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Tunisian judges to suspend work in courts for a week after president fired 57 judges

Tunisian judges to suspend work in courts for a week after president fired 57 judges

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian judges will suspend work in courts for a week and hold a sit-in to protest against the president's firing of dozens of judges, a judge said on Saturday. President Kais Saied this week dismissed 57 judges, accusing them of corruption and protecting terrorists in a purge of the judiciary - his latest step to tighten his grip on power in the North African country. Judge Hammadi Rahmani said a judges meeting today voted unanimously to suspend work in all courts, and to start the sit-in. (Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Mark Potter)
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U.S. says Tunisia undermining democratic institutions after purge of judges

U.S. says Tunisia undermining democratic institutions after purge of judges

Washington accused Tunisia's President Kais Saied of undermining the country's democratic institutions after he fired dozens of judges amid a raft of measures that appeared designed to consolidate one-man rule. Saied, who has also replaced the independent electoral commission and said he will introduce a new constitution this month, accused the judges of corruption and protecting terrorists in a televised address on Wednesday. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the purge was part of "an alarming pattern of steps that have undermined Tunisia’s independent democratic institutions." U.S. officials had communicated with their Tunisian counterparts the importance of checks and…
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Tunisian president purges judges after instituting one-man rule

Tunisian president purges judges after instituting one-man rule

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's president sacked 57 judges on Wednesday, accusing them of corruption and protecting terrorists in a purge of the judiciary that comes as he seeks to remake the political system after consolidating one-man rule. In a televised address President Kais Saied said he had "given opportunity after opportunity and warning after warning to the judiciary to purify itself". Hours later the official gazette published a decree announcing the dismissals. Among those sacked was Youssef Bouzaker, the former head of the Supreme Judicial Council whose members Saied replaced this year as he moved to take control of the judiciary. The…
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IOM: Up to 600 missing at sea in 3 months in Central Mediterranean

IOM: Up to 600 missing at sea in 3 months in Central Mediterranean

The International Organization for Migration says up to 600 people attempting to reach Europe by sea from Tunisia and Libya have gone missing during the first three months of 2022, the highest figure since 2014. In the latest tragedy, according to Tunisian authorities, a wooden boat carrying over 100 people capsized early Tuesday near the island of Kerkennah in southeastern Tunisia due to bad weather. The IOM said Wednesday that 30 people from that boat were rescued but 75 are still missing. Tunisian navy and coast guard units continued to comb the area on Thursday where the tragedy occurred. On…
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75 people missing, one dead, after migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

75 people missing, one dead, after migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

Seventy five people were missing after a crowded boat of migrants sank off Tunisia on Wednesday, the International Organization for Migration said and a security official said, as the numbers risking the dangerous crossing to Europe increase. The IOM said 24 people had been rescued from the boat, which departed from the beaches of Zawara in Libya and sank off the coast of Sfax. A Tunisian security official told Reuters that the coastguard had recovered a body as they continue to search for 75 others who were missing. In recent months, dozens of people have drowned off the Tunisian coast,…
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Tunisian president excludes parties from preparing new constitution

Tunisian president excludes parties from preparing new constitution

Tunisian President Kais Saied named a law professor to head an advisory committee to draft a new constitution for a "new republic", the presidency said, excluding political parties from restructuring the political system. Saied has consolidated his one-man rule since seizing executive power last summer and dissolving the parliament to rule by decree in moves his foes call a coup. He has since said he will replace the democratic 2014 constitution with a new constitution via a referendum on July 25 and have new parliamentary elections in December. The committee headed by law professor Sadok Belaid consists of deans of…
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Tunisia sees 2022 budget deficit expanding to 9.7% from 6.7% previously expected

Tunisia sees 2022 budget deficit expanding to 9.7% from 6.7% previously expected

TUNIS, May 20 (Reuters) - Tunisia's budget deficit will expand to 9.7% of GDP this year, compared to a previously expected 6.7%, due to the stronger dollar and sharp increase in grain and energy prices, the central bank governor said on Friday. Marouan Abassi added at an economic conference in Sfax that Tunisia needs additional funding for the budget of 5 billion dinars ($1.6 billion) this year due to the effects of the war in Ukraine. This will raise financing needs this year to 25 billion dinars, increasing pressures on the public finances of the country, which is in the grip of economic and…
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Demonstration on Sunday in Tunis against Tunisian President Kais Saied

Demonstration on Sunday in Tunis against Tunisian President Kais Saied

Tunisians shout slogans during a demonstration against Tunisian President Kais Saied in Tunis, Tunisia. Tunisians protest against the latest measures taken by President Kais Saied, which they describe as a coup. Thousands of Tunisians protested on Sunday against President Kais Saied, demanding a return to the normal democratic order and rejecting his replacement of the independent electoral commission with one he named himself. Saied has entrenched his one-man rule since seizing executive power last summer, dismissing parliament, moving to rule by decree and saying he will replace the democratic constitution through a referendum. Saied denies a coup, saying his intervention…
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Tunisian president hints he will not accept foreign observers in next elections

Tunisian president hints he will not accept foreign observers in next elections

TUNIS, (Reuters) - Tunisian President Kais Saied indicated on Thursday he will not accept foreign observers for votes he plans this year to change the political system after having already taken control of the previously independent electoral commission. Saied has consolidated his one-man rule since seizing executive power last summer and dissolving the parliament to rule by decree in moves his foes call a coup. He has since said he will change the democratic 2014 constitution via a referendum in July and has said he wants to hold new parliamentary elections in December. "They proposed sending observers. Why? We are not an…
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Tunisian coast guard retrieves bodies of three migrants, rescues 250 others

Tunisian coast guard retrieves bodies of three migrants, rescues 250 others

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian coast guards retrieved the bodies of three migrants whose boat sank off Tunisia and rescued about 250 others in a number of separate incidents, security official told Reuters . “Coastguard rescued 240 African migrants and eight Tunisians in 10 illegal migration trips, and also recovered the bodies of three Africans whose boat sank off the coast of El Awabed in Sfax Governorate,” Lieutenant-Colonel Ali Ayari said.
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Tunisia to raise the prices of some foodstuffs

Tunisia to raise the prices of some foodstuffs

TUNIS, May 11 (Reuters) - Tunisia will raise the prices of some foods including milk, eggs and poultry this week, the agriculture minister said, following protests by farmers against a jump in animal feed barley prices due to the war in Ukraine and an increase in energy costs. Unions warn that the wave of repeated price increases and a fall in purchasing power amid a severe economic crisis could lead to protests the authorities may not be able to control. Last month, the government also raised the price of fuel by 5%, the third hike this year. Tunisia will raise local fuel…
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Tunisia’s dinar hits new record low versus dollar

Tunisia’s dinar hits new record low versus dollar

TUNIS, May 6 (Reuters) - Tunisia's dinar currency has fallen to new record lows versus the dollar, central bank data showed on Friday. It traded at 3.101 against the dollar on Thursday. Last month the dinar changed hands at 3.074 for the first time, driven down by high inflation, a worsening trade deficit and the severe impact of the Ukraine crisis on public finances. Tunisia’s annual inflation rate rose to 7.5% in April from 7.2% in March. Last month, the state statistics institute said Tunisia's trade deficit had widened to 4.3 billion dinars ($1.4 billion) in the first quarter of 2022, up…
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Tunisia finds 24 more bodies of migrants after boats sank in April

Tunisia finds 24 more bodies of migrants after boats sank in April

TUNIS, May 4 (Reuters) - Tunisia's coastguard has retrieved 24 more bodies of migrants who had been among about 120 people on boats that sank off the Tunisian coast at the end of April, a judicial official told Reuters on Wednesday. The confirmed death toll has now reached 67 from last month's sinking of four boats as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy. More than 50 people are still missing. (Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Edmund Blair) file photo EPA/EFE
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Tunisia’s dinar hits record low versus dollar

Tunisia’s dinar hits record low versus dollar

TUNIS, April 29 (Reuters) - Tunisia's dinar currency has fallen to record lows versus the dollar, driven down by high inflation, a worsening trade deficit and the severe impact of the Ukraine crisis on public finances. It traded at 3.074 against the dollar on Thursday, central bank data showed on Friday. Earlier this month, the state statistics institute said Tunisia's trade deficit had widened to 4.3 billion dinars ($1.41 billion) in the first quarter of 2022, up from 3 billion dinars in the same period last year. The inflation rate accelerated in March to 7.2% from 7% in February and 6.7% in…
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U.S. says it’s deeply concerned by Tunisia’s move to restructure the election authority

U.S. says it’s deeply concerned by Tunisia’s move to restructure the election authority

The United States is "deeply concerned" by the Tunisian president's decision to restructure the election authority in the country, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. Tunisia's president seized control of the North African country's election commission on Friday, saying he would replace most of its members in a move that will entrench his one-man rule and cast doubt on electoral integrity.
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Tunisia detains crew of ship that sank off its coast this month

Tunisia detains crew of ship that sank off its coast this month

TUNIS, April 27 (Reuters) - A Tunisian judge detained seven crew members of a commercial ship that sank off the coast of the southern city of Gabes this month, a judicial official said on Wednesday, as authorities investigated whether the ship may have been deliberately sunk. Tunisian officials said this month that the ship, the Xelo, sank while heading from Equatorial Guinea to Malta carrying up to 1,000 tonnes of oil and the Tunisian navy had rescued all seven crew members. Officials later said a specialized diving team sent to counter a potential environmental disaster found the ship cargo did…
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At least 12 dead, another 10 missing as four migrant boats sink off Tunisia

At least 12 dead, another 10 missing as four migrant boats sink off Tunisia

TUNIS (Reuters) -At least 12 African migrants died and another 10 were missing after four boats carrying 120 migrants sank off Tunisia as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy, a security official told Reuters on Saturday. Ali Aayari, a lieutenant colonel in the Tunisian Coast Guard, added that 98 migrants were rescued off the coast of Sfax. The coastline of Sfax has become a major departure point for people fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East and seeking a better life in Europe. The interior ministry said this week that it had arrested more than…
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Tunisia, others seek to limit damage after ship sinks carrying fuel

Tunisia, others seek to limit damage after ship sinks carrying fuel

TUNIS, April 17 (Reuters) - Tunisia will work with other countries that have offered to help it to prevent environmental damage after a merchant ship carrying up to one thousand tonnes of oil sank in Tunisian waters, the defence ministry said on Sunday. The ship was heading from Equatorial Guinea to Malta when it sank seven miles off the coast of the southern city of Gabes on Friday. The Tunisian navy rescued all seven crew members following a distress call.  It was carrying between 750 tonnes and one thousand tonnes of fuel, officials said. The defence ministry did not name the countries…
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UPDATED: Tunisia says countries offer help to tackle impact of fuel ship’s sinking

UPDATED: Tunisia says countries offer help to tackle impact of fuel ship’s sinking

TUNIS, April 17 (Reuters) - Some countries have offered to help Tunisia prevent damage to the environment after a merchant ship carrying up to one thousand tonnes of oil sank off the coast of Gabes, the Tunisian defence ministry said on Sunday. The ship heading from Equatorial Guinea to Malta sank on Friday and the Tunisian navy rescued all seven crew members.  https://twitter.com/Tunigate/status/1515627500617048069 The vessel carried between 750 tonnes and one thousand tonnes of fuel and sent a distress call seven miles away from Gabes to which the Tunisian navy responded, officials said. The defence ministry said in statement sent to Reuters…
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UPDATE – Merchant fuel ship heading to Malta sinks off Tunisia

UPDATE – Merchant fuel ship heading to Malta sinks off Tunisia

TUNIS (Reuters/AFP) - A merchant fuel ship heading from Equatorial Guinea to Malta sank off the coast of Gabes in Tunisia on Friday, two security sources told Reuters, adding that the navy rescued all seven crew members. The ship carried one thousand tons of fuel and sent a distress call seven miles away from Gabes to which the Tunisian navy responded, the sources added. The Times of Malta reports that the merchant ship the Xelo, carrying "around 750 tonnes of diesel fuel", requested entry to Tunisian waters on Friday evening due to bad weather, the environment ministry said in a…
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Tunisia detains a journalist who criticized police, second reporter held in a month

Tunisia detains a journalist who criticized police, second reporter held in a month

TUNIS (Reuters) - A Tunisian court detained a journalist who criticised police and the interior minister, the main journalism union said, denouncing a setback in freedom of expression since President Kais Saied seized executive power last summer. Chahrazed Akacha was the second journalist to be imprisoned within a month, after another was jailed for a week in March for publishing a story on militants. The union said Akacha's arrest was due to a Facebook post in which she criticised the interior minister and accused police of insulting and beating her in the street last week. In her post, Akacha called on interior…
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Tunisia hikes local purchase price of wheat, plans self-sufficiency in durum wheat

Tunisia hikes local purchase price of wheat, plans self-sufficiency in durum wheat

TUNIS, April 6 (Reuters) - Tunisia said on Wednesday it was raising the purchase price of wheat and barley from local farmers to encourage production and achieve food security, and that it aimed to achieve self-sufficiency in durum wheat production from next season. The agriculture ministry said the price for durum was increasing to 130 dinars ($43.59) per 100 kg from 87 dinars, soft wheat will fetch 100 dinars per quintal from 67 dinars, and barley will be at 80 dinars per quintal. Tunisia, which is suffering a deep financial crisis, was badly affected by the rise in global wheat prices resulting…
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Tunisia crisis escalates as police summon opposition figures

Tunisia crisis escalates as police summon opposition figures

TUNIS, April 1 (Reuters) - Tunisian anti-terrorism police summoned the country's main opposition figure for questioning on Friday, as a political crisis deepens in the wake of President Kais Saied's move to dissolve parliament and impose one-man rule. Rached Ghannouchi, head of the Islamist Ennahda party and speaker of the dissolved parliament, was summoned to appear later on Friday, his office said, after investigations were opened into other members of the chamber who had defied Saied. Saied demanded that investigations be carried out after members of parliament held an online session on Wednesday and voted to revoke all the emergency…
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Tunisia’s president rules out early elections after dissolving parliament

Tunisia’s president rules out early elections after dissolving parliament

(Reuters) -Tunisia’s parliamentary elections won’t be held within the next three months, President Kais Saied said late on Thursday during a meeting with Prime Minister Najla Bouden, according to a Facebook post by the president’s office. Saied issued a decree on Wednesday dissolving parliament, which has been suspended since last year, after it defied him by voting to repeal decrees that he used to assume near total power. The Free Constitutional Party, an opposition party that polls project would be the biggest in parliament if elections were held, urged Saied to call early elections following the dissolution of parliament. Abir…
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Tunisian crisis escalates as president dissolves parliament

Tunisian crisis escalates as president dissolves parliament

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian President Kais Saied late on Wednesday issued a decree dissolving parliament, which has been suspended since last year, after it defied him by voting to repeal decrees that he used to assume near total power. Speaking after an online session of more than half the parliament members, their first since he suspended the chamber in July, Saied accused them of a failed coup and a conspiracy against state security and ordered investigations into them. The parliament session and Saied's response intensified Tunisia's political crisis though it was not clear if they will prompt any immediate change in his…
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Tunisian union warns of public sector strike over reforms

Tunisian union warns of public sector strike over reforms

TUNIS, March 30 (Reuters) - Tunisia's powerful labour union warned on Wednesday public sector workers could strike to oppose economic reforms the government has proposed to try to secure an International Monetary Fund (IMF) rescue package. The UGTT union is Tunisia's most powerful political body with more than a million members and has brought the economy to a halt in previous strikes over state spending cuts. "In UGTT we defend the poor and the marginalised .... We will not betray our principles, whatever the price," said UGTT head Noureddine Taboubi, addressing workers in the northern port city of Bizerte. A general strike…
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World Bank approves $400 million for Tunisia to help vulnerable households

World Bank approves $400 million for Tunisia to help vulnerable households

TUNIS, (Reuters) - The World Bank said it approved $400 million for Tunisia to help about 900,000 vulnerable Tunisian households cope with the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. It said the additional financing will continue to provide cash transfers to poor and low-income households, while strengthening Tunisia’s social protection system.
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Tunisia says it has dismantled 150 militant cells in past 6 months

Tunisia says it has dismantled 150 militant cells in past 6 months

TUNIS, March 26 (Reuters) - Tunisian police forces have dismantled about 150 militant cells in the past six months, a spokesman for the National Guard said on Saturday. He added that some of the foreign militants arrested were planning to join "Jond Kilafha", a group linked to Islamic State in Libya and in the mountains on the Tunisian-Algerian border. "Attempts of attacks targeting neighbouring countries were thwarted and a cell that was planning to stab the interior minister in the south of the country was dismantled," Houssem Eddine Jbebli told reporters. The North African nation has been under a state of emergency…
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Photo Story: Italian cruise ship first to dock in Tunisia since 2019

Photo Story: Italian cruise ship first to dock in Tunisia since 2019

The Spirit of Discovery cruise ship arrives at La Goulette port in Tunis, Tunisia, 23 March 2022. The Italian cruise ship, with 724 tourists on board, is the first to dock in Tunisia since 2019. Thirty other cruise ships are expected to arrive in Tunisia if the global and national epidemiological situation improves, according to the Minister of Tourism Mohamed Moez Belhassine. Photo: EPA-EFE/MOHAMED MESSARA
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