Saied tells Blinken that Tunisia is ready to leave the ‘exceptional situation’

Tunisia’s president told the US Secretary of State that his country was preparing to get out of its “exceptional situation,” the presidency said Sunday, nearly four months after a shocking coup.

On July 25, President Kais Saied fired the government, suspended parliament and seized upon a range of powers, citing an “imminent threat” to the country — the birthplace of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings against the autocracy.

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On September 22, he suspended parts of the constitution and installed rule by decree, retaining full control of the judiciary, as well as powers to dismiss ministers and enact laws.

Tunisia is preparing “the next (political) phases” to get “out of the exceptional situation” it finds itself in, Saied told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a phone call late Saturday, stressing its “will”. . to bring the country back to a ‘normal situation’.

Saied told Blinken he had acted in the face of a Tunisian parliament that had “turned into a theater of confrontation”, according to a presidency statement, adding that Tunisia’s economic and social problems were “the biggest problem”.

Tunisia is heavily indebted and faces a deep economic crisis exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis, with 18 percent unemployment and steep inflation.

In mid-October, it was reported that a central bank official said the North African country was in talks with the Gulf powers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for a bailout.

The US State Department said Blinken and Saied reported on “recent developments in Tunisia, including the formation of the new government and steps to ease the economic situation”.

Blinken said in a tweet that he “encouraged a transparent and inclusive reform process to address Tunisia’s important political, economic and social challenges.”

Saied appointed a new government in October, with Najla Bouden as the North African country’s first female prime minister.

But he has significantly reduced the powers of her office and will technically run the administration himself.

Some of his opponents have accused him of seeking a new dictatorship, but the president’s supporters say his steps were necessary after years of deadlock between political parties perceived as corrupt and selfish.

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