Tunisia President Kais Saied planning ‘soft coup’ after claiming security control: political party

Tunisia President Kais Saied planning ‘soft coup’ after claiming security control: political party
The Tunisian president's move to claim control over the nation's domestic security forces has proven unpopular with many.
2 min read
20 April, 2021
Tunisia's president made a controversial claim of control over domestic security forces [AFP/Getty]

Tunisia's president has been accused of planning a "soft coup" two days after he said he has lawful control of domestic security forces, Asharq Al-Awsat has reported.

Kais Saied had said his status as president also made him leader of Tunisia's armed forces.

Prime Minister and acting Interior Minister Hichem Mechichi replied that these were decontextualised "odd readings" of Tunisia's constitution.

He added that Saied's comments highlighted the "urgent need" for a constitutional court to be formed, which should be the only body ruling on issues such as who has control of the country's military.

Saied, who is involved in an ongoing stalemate with the prime minister, said earlier this month that the deadline for such efforts had passed.

Were a constitutional court to be created, this would also permit Tunisia's parliament to declare it has no confidence in the president, The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, said.

According to Article 88 of Tunisia's constitution, two-thirds of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People must first approve the measure based on a "grave violation of the constitution".

A two-thirds majority of the Constitutional Court must then affirm the decision.

Saied has come under staunch criticism after his claim of control over domestic security, with Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, leader of Amal, arguing that the president is engaged in a "soft coup", according to Asharq Al-Aswat.

In a statement seen by Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Ennahda, whose leader Rached Ghannouchi is speaker of the house, said the move was an "infringement on the political system and the authority of the prime minister".

Read more: Political Islam in Tunisia: The history of Ennahda

The Islamist party accused the president of "violating the constitution".

The president could make life hard for the organisation. Saied has complained of a "hidden intention" to depose him involving Ennadha and the Heart of Tunisia party, whose now-imprisoned leader suggested a no-confidence move could be on the table.

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