EU urges Tunisia's president to reopen parliament


FILE PHOTO: Tunisia's President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government's swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. Fethi Belaid/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union on Tuesday called on Tunisia's President Kais Saied to restore the democratic order in his country after he suspended parliament and seized near total control in July.

"The parliament cannot stay closed indefinitely," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told lawmakers in a debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Saied is under international pressure to announce a clear road map for a return to constitutional politics. Last week, he announced a new government but gave no indication that he was ready to relinquish control.

His intervention followed years of economic stagnation and political paralysis but it has cast into doubt the democratic gains made by Tunisians during the revolution that triggered the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011.

Borrell urged Saied to set a clear timetable for the reopening of the parliament.

"It's crucial for the country's future and its domestic and international credibility that the President and the Tunisian authorities at all levels fully restore the constitutional and the institutional order, including the parliamentarian activity," he said.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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