U.S. “closely monitoring” developments in Tunisia following suspension of parliament by President Kais Saied

The United States says it is “closely monitoring developments in Tunisia” after President Kais Saied suspended the parliament and sacked his rival prime minister.  

“We have been in contact with Tunisian government officials to stress that solutions to Tunisia’s political and economic troubles should be based on the Tunisian constitution and the principles of democracy, human rights, and freedom,” the U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. “We have been clear in urging all parties to avoid taking any actions that could stifle democratic discourse or lead to violence.”

Price said the United States is “particularly troubled by reports that media offices have been closed and urge scrupulous respect for freedom of expression and other civil rights.”

“Tunisia must not squander its democratic gains. The United States will continue to stand on the side of Tunisia’s democracy,” Price said.

President Kais Saied of Tunisia took control of the north African country late on Sunday following violent anti-government protests.

He sacked the parliament and fired his prime minister, raising concerns that the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring a decade ago was again at risk.

A leading political party, Ennahda, described it in a statement as “a coup against the Tunisian democracy and its constitution.”

“We call on every international supporter of democracy to come together to speak out immediately against this injustice and call for the immediate restoration of our Parliament,” Ennahda said in a statement, asserting that the story of Tunisia as the only Arab Spring’s success story “does not end here.”

For months, Mr. Saied has been in a power struggle with Prime Minister Hichem Mechini and Speaker of Parliament Riad Gannouchi, triggering political unrest for the past few months.

Large protests on Sunday called for the dissolution of the Parliament and videos posted on the social media showed people celebrating the announcement that the Parliament had been dissolved.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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