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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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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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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Tunisia’s Saied unpicks young ‘Arab Spring’ democracy

Tunisia’s Saied unpicks young ‘Arab Spring’ democracy

TUNIS, (Reuters) - President Kais Saied has proposed a new constitution that would formalise his sweeping seizure of powers 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, with the economy facing collapse and opposition to his rule growing. A former law lecturer with a stiff public manner, Saied moved against the parliament last summer, surrounding its building with tanks, giving himself the right to rule by decree and assuming ultimate authority over the judiciary. He has depicted his actions as a corrective…
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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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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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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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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’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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UPDATED: Tunisian president offers dialogue, but without giving details

UPDATED: Tunisian president offers dialogue, but without giving details

TUNIS, March 21 (Reuters) - Tunisia's president said on Monday there would be a national dialogue about the country's political system as he moves to rewrite the constitution after establishing one-man rule, but he gave no details on how it would take place. President Kais Saied has already held an online consultation to canvas public opinion about the new constitution, and has promised to name a panel of lawyers to draft it and put it to a referendum in July. His remarks appeared to indicate he was open to a more inclusive process - something that his critics and other major players…
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Photo Story: Anti-government protests in Tunisia

Photo Story: Anti-government protests in Tunisia

Demonstrators hold Tunisian national flags during a protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied's seizure of governing powers, during the 66th anniversary of Tunisia's independence in Tunis, Tunisia, 20 March 2022.  France ended its protectorate over Tunisia on 20 March 1956. Via EPA-EFE/MOHAMED MESSARA
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Tunisia’s Saied to bar foreign funding for civil society

Tunisia’s Saied to bar foreign funding for civil society

Tunisia's President Kais Saied announced he will outlaw foreign funding for civil society organisations as he tries to remake the country's politics after establishing one-man rule. Civil society organisations, including some that have had funding from Western democracies, have played a significant role in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution that introduced democracy. "Non-governmental organisations must be prevented from accessing external funds... and we will do that," Saied said, saying the change was needed to stop foreign interference in the country. Last summer Saied suspended the elected parliament and assumed executive power before brushing aside the constitution to say he will…
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UPDATED: Tunisian judiciary head says president’s move illegal and judges won’t be silent

UPDATED: Tunisian judiciary head says president’s move illegal and judges won’t be silent

TUNIS, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Tunisian Supreme Judicial Council head Youssef Bouzakher said on Sunday the president's decision to dissolve the body was illegal and an effort to put the judiciary under presidential instruction. Speaking to Reuters by phone hours after President Kais Saied's announcement, he warned that "judges will not be silent". Tunisian President Kais Saied on Sunday dissolved the Supreme Judicial Council, the body that deals with judicial independence, a move that raises fears about the independence of the judiciary and was sure to anger his opponents. Saied's decision caps months of his sharp criticism of the judges.…
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Tunisian democracy now in the hands of its solemn president

Tunisian democracy now in the hands of its solemn president

TUNIS (Reuters) - Described by those who know him as set in his opinions and trusting of only a tight circle, a former constitutional law professor now holds the future of Tunisia's young democracy in his formally suited grasp. When President Kais Saied addressed supporters on Monday in the town that began Tunisia's 2011 revolution, he swore he would not turn back from the July intervention that his critics called a coup. Saied denies having dictatorial aspirations and defends his actions as constitutional, but two months after sacking the prime minister, suspending parliament and assuming executive power he has made…
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Tunisian president rejects dialogue with ‘traitors’

Tunisian president rejects dialogue with ‘traitors’

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied said he would not do deals with those he described as “traitors”, an apparent reference to the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, the biggest in the suspended parliament. Ennahda has called for a national dialogue to find a way forward after Saied on July 25 dismissed the prime minister, froze parliament and seized governing powers, moves the party has called a coup. “I will not deal with.. traitors and those who pay money to offend their country. No dialogue with them,” he said in a video that was posted online by the presidency. Local media have reported…
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Tunisian president says there is ‘no turning back’

Tunisian president says there is ‘no turning back’

Tunisia's President Kais Saied said on Thursday there was "no turning back" from his decision to freeze parliament and assume executive power, moves his opponents have branded a coup. Speaking in a video published by his office, Saied also rejected calls for talks over the crisis, saying "there is no dialogue except with the honest" and that no dialogue was possible with "cancer cells". The biggest party in parliament, the moderate Islamist Ennahda, which has been the most vocal opponent of Saied's moves, had called for dialogue in a statement earlier on Thursday. Some 11 days after his intervention, Saied…
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Tunisian president says he will not become a dictator

Tunisian president says he will not become a dictator

Tunisia's president promised he would not turn into a dictator and rejected accusations he had staged a coup, as two parliament members were arrested following his decision to lift their immunity when he seized control of government this week. Tunisia has been thrust into a political crisis by President Kais Saied's move on Sunday to dismiss the prime minister and freeze parliament for 30 days, leading major parties to accuse him of a coup. Saied has yet to carry out steps that critics say are needed to reassure Tunisians, including the appointment of an interim prime minister and a roadmap…
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Tunisian president bashes ‘wrong choices’ on economy

Tunisian president bashes ‘wrong choices’ on economy

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian President Kais Saied said on Wednesday that "wrong economic choices" had caused major financial problems in his first comments on the economy since using emergency powers to seize control of government late on Sunday. In a meeting with the head of the UTICA business union shown in a video distributed by the presidency, Saied indicated a coming crackdown on corruption cases but said there was "no intention to harm or abuse" business people. He said 460 people had stolen 13.5 billion dinars ($4.8bln) from Tunisia and offered a "penal settlement" if they returned the money. "I…
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Tunisian president orders night curfew from Monday to Aug. 27 -statement

Tunisian president orders night curfew from Monday to Aug. 27 -statement

CAIRO, July 26 (Reuters) - Tunisian President Kais Saied prohibited the movement of people and vehicles from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m., starting Monday and lasting until Aug. 27, with the exception of urgent health cases and night workers, the presidency said on Monday in a statement posted on Facebook. The presidential order also prohibited the movement of people and vehicles between cities outside times of curfew , except to fulfill basic needs or for urgent health reasons. It also banned the gathering of more than three people on public roads or in public squares. (Reporting by Nayera Abdallah; editing…
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Tunisia President wants debate on new political system, constitutional amendment

Tunisia President wants debate on new political system, constitutional amendment

Tunisian President Kais Saied called for a dialogue with political parties on creating a new political system and amending the 2014 constitution, which he described as “with locks everywhere”, in an effort to ease the ongoing political crisis. Saied's comments could pave the way for an end to a months-long political standoff with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, who is backed by parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, over powers and political alliances. The Tunisian constitution, approved following the 2011 revolution, has been widely praised as a modernist constitution. But many politicians admit that it includes…
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Exit polls indicate Kais Saied won Tunisia presidential election

Exit polls indicate Kais Saied won Tunisia presidential election

Tunisian polling agencies are forecasting that conservative law professor Kais Saied has overwhelmingly won the North African country's presidential election. Saied's supporters exploded with joy, celebrating on the main boulevard of Tunis even though official results from Sunday's runoff vote aren't expected until Tuesday. It's only Tunisia's second democratic presidential election since it overthrew a dictator in the 2011 Arab Spring pro-democracy uprising. Polls carried in Tunisian media by Sigma Conseil and Emhrod Consulting forecast that Saied would come out on top with between 72% and 77% of the vote. Rival Nabil Karoui, who was in jail for most of…
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Presidential elections preparations in Tunisia

Presidential elections preparations in Tunisia

A worker of Tunisia's Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) dispatch ballot boxes to polling stations a day ahead of the presidential election in Tunis, Tunisia. The second-round runoff of the elections will be held on 13 October between the top two candidates, Kais Saied and Nabil Karoui. In the first round Karoui came second with 15.58 percent after first placed Saied, who secured 18.4 percent of the votes. Via EPA-EFE/MOHAMED MESSARA
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Tunisia presidential run-off vote set for October 13

Tunisia presidential run-off vote set for October 13

The second round of voting in Tunisia’s presidential election, pitting law professor Kais Saied against imprisoned media mogul Nabil Karoui, will be held on October 13, the head of the country’s electoral commission said Friday. Nabil Baffoun, president of the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE), confirmed the date in an interview with FRANCE 24. Saied and Karoui, both seen as outsider candidates, came out on top in the first round of voting held on September 15. Saied claimed 18.40 percent of the vote and Karoui 15.58 percent. The elections had originally been planned for 17 and 24 November but…
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Outsiders claim lead in first round of Tunisian presidential vote

Outsiders claim lead in first round of Tunisian presidential vote

Two anti-establishment candidates claimed the lead in the first round of Tunisia's presidential election on Sunday, in a poll focused on high unemployment and a surge in the cost of living. Kais Saied, a 61-year-old law professor and expert on constitutional affairs who ran as an independent, claimed to be in pole position. He finished "first in the first round", he said, citing exit polls ahead of preliminary results expected to be announced on Tuesday. There was also an upbeat atmosphere at the party headquarters of jailed media mogul Nabil Karoui, behind bars due to a money laundering probe, as…
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