Tunisian prime minister says he is ready to step down to ensure smooth transfer of power

The Tunisian prime minister, Hichem Mechichi, said on Monday (26 July) that he was ready to hand over power to the new head of government, expected soon to be appointed by President Kaïs Saïed. Through this, Mechichi commits to a path of a peaceful transition amidst a situation that some are calling a coup.

The day before, Saïed sacked Mechichi and suspended the activities of parliament, which led to a day of clashes in front of the Tunisian parliament, the Assembly of the People's Representatives.

"I will ensure the transfer of power to the personality who will be appointed by the President of the Republic," said Hichem Mechichi, in his first statement since the presidents move on Sunday evening. The ruling party, Ennahda, which supported Mechichi, has called Saïed's moves a "coup".

The current political crisis in Tunisia – a country often portrayed as the success story of the Arab Spring, where democracy emerged from protest – has raised some concern abroad, but statements remain fairly measured. France stated it wanted the country to "return, as soon as possible, to normal functioning of the institutions" and called for the avoidance of violence. The US State Department said in a statement that it has been "clear in urging all parties to avoid taking any actions that could stifle democratic discourse or lead to violence", noting it was "particularly troubled by reports that media offices have been closed and urge scrupulous respect for freedom of expression and other civil rights". The only international actor to have taken a clear stance against the actions of President Saïed has been Turkey, with Omer Celik, spokesperson of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling the the move "illigitmate". Erdogan's ruling AKP party is allied with Tunisia's Ennahda party.


source: commonspace.eu with various sources.
photo: Visit of Mr Hichem Mechichi, Head of Government of Tunisia, to the UN's International Labour Organization (archive); ILO

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