Tunisian Ghannouchi says parliament is in session, defying president

President of the Parliament of Tunisia Rached Ghannouchi on Friday, the assembly declared in session and urged lawmakers to resume work, defying President Kais Saied’s suspension of the assembly in another escalation of the country’s political crisis.

Ghannouchi’s statement appears to deepen a dispute over the legitimacy of Saied’s control of most of the legislative and executive branches in July, a move the president’s opponents called a coup.

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“The office of the Assembly of Deputies is in permanent session,” Ghannouchi, head of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, said in a tweet.

Saied was elected in 2019 and is under national and international pressure to appoint a government following his intervention in July when he fired the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed executive power.

On Wednesday, he named Najla Bouden Romdhane, a geologist with little government experience, as Tunisia’s first female prime minister.

Last week, he suspended most of the constitution and said he could rule by decree for an “exceptional” period with no fixed end, thus destroying the democratic gains made after the 2011 Tunisian revolution that sparked the Arab Spring protests in doubts were drawn.

Earlier on Friday, security forces surrounded the parliament headquarters, awaiting the arrival of lawmakers.

Read more: A female prime minister in Tunisia

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