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After dismissing PM, Tunisia president sacks defence minister

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A day after Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi was ousted, Tunisian President Kais Saied sacked defence minister Ibrahim Bartaji and acting justice minister Hasna Ben Slimane.

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The move follows protests against the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic as troops marched into Tunis to restore order. The political crisis has been heightened as coronavirus deaths climbed to over 18,000 in the country.

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President Saied said he had “taken the necessary decisions to save Tunisia, the state and the Tunisian people”. Saied had declared that the Parliament will be suspended for the next 30 days due to “imminent danger”.

Clashes erupted on the streets of Tunisia after Saied dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi. Justice minister Hasna Ben Slimane was also the government spokesman.

The political crisis has been heightened amid deadlock and disputes between Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and lawmakers as Saied invoked emergency powers under the constitution to dismiss PM Mechichi.

Amid the deteriorating situation, the Biden administration urged Tunisia to adhere to “democratic principles” while the French foreign ministry called “on all of the country’s political forces to avoid any form of violence and to preserve the country’s democratic gains.”

(With inputs from Agencies)



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