Possible scenarios for Tunisia's political crisis

A supporter of Tunisia's biggest political party, the moderate Islamist Ennahda, scuffles with a police officer near the parliament building in Tunis, Tunisia July 26, 2021. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian democracy faces its biggest test since the 2011 revolution after President Kais Saied ousted the government and froze parliament late on Sunday, leading to confrontations between his supporters and opponents.

He has invoked emergency powers under Article 80 of the constitution to sack Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, freeze parliament for 30 days, lift the immunity of parliament members and make himself prosecutor general.

The army has helped him by surrounding parliament and the main government palace but the main parties in parliament including the moderate Islamist Ennahda have called his move a coup and say Article 80 does not allow his actions.

These are some scenarios for how the coming days may unfold.


Supporters of the president -- a political independent -- and of Ennahda mobilise in the streets across Tunisia, leading to violent confrontations that could draw in security forces and herald an era of instability or prompt a military power grab.


Saied rapidly names a new prime minister to handle the COVID-19 surge and a looming fiscal crisis. He returns powers to parliament after his 30-day freeze ends and allows normal procedures to resume. New parliamentary elections may follow.


Saied consolidates control over the levers of power and security apparatus, postponing or cancelling a return to the constitutional order and cracking down on the freedoms of speech and assembly won in the 2011 revolution.


Saied uses the crisis to push for what he has called his preferred constitutional settlement - a presidential system based on elections but with a smaller role for parliament. The changes are followed by a referendum on the constitution and new elections.


Repeating the pattern of earlier crises after Tunisia's 2011 revolution, the political opponents draw back from the brink and agree to seek a compromise through dialogue that includes other players such as the powerful labour union.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara and Angus McDowall; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In World

Nigerians offer artworks to British Museum in new take on looted bronzes
Czech president Zeman to be released from hospital on Wednesday
Shots fired at car carrying Ukraine president's aide; driver wounded
Canaries volcano lava gushes towards sea, eruption goes on
Divided Swiss to vote on same-sex marriage after fraught campaign
Northern Irish police arrest two more over killing of journalist Lyra McKee
Myanmar town near India border sees exodus as thousands flee fighting
Polish court to rule on primacy of EU law amid tensions with Brussels
Australia says trade pact would benefit EU in Indo-Pacific amid submarine deal fallout
Panama and Costa Rica arrest dozens over migrant smuggling network

Stories You'll Enjoy