Tunisian president sacks more ministers in 'power grab'

Tunisian president sacks more ministers in 'power grab'
Tunisian president sacked the finance, agriculture and technologies ministers.
2 min read
03 August, 2021
Tunisian President Kais Saied is relieving several politicians [Getty]

Tunisian President Kais Saied sacked the finance and economy minister and the communications and technologies minister who is also acting agriculture and water resources minister, the presidency page on Facebook said on Monday.

Saied named Sihem Boughdiri to run the finance and economy ministry and Nizar ben Najy to run the communications and technologies ministry, the statement added.

Tunisian security forces have arrested two MPs from an Islamist party opposed to a power grab by President Kais Saied.

Maher Zid and Mohamed Affes of Al-Karama were on Sunday placed in provisional detention in connection with a military investigation, party head Seifeddine Makhlouf said last week.

Their arrest late Saturday comes a day after the detention of an independent MP, Yassine Ayari.

Ayari was arrested for branding Saied's decision to suspend parliament and sack the prime minister and other top officials as a "military coup".

Al-Karama is linked to the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, the main opponent of the president.

According to Makhlouf, a lawyer critical of the president, Zid and Affes are wanted for having allegedly insulted police officers in March who prevented a woman from boarding a plane at the airport.

Affes is a former ultra-conservative cleric while Zid is an ex-journalist and blogger sentenced to two years in jail for having insulted late president Beji Caid Essebsi.

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Saied has justified his actions, dismissing accusations that he had staged a "coup".

He said he acted within the constitution which allows the head of state to take unspecified exceptional measures in the even of an "imminent threat".

On Friday, he stressed he "hates dictatorship" and that there was "nothing to fear" concerning freedoms and rights in Tunisia.

Saied has also declared a crackdown on corruption, accusing 460 businessmen of embezzlement.

The latest arrests comes as the United States called on Tunisia to swiftly return to its "democratic path".