Panafrican News Agency

AU calls for 'strict respect' for Tunisian constitution

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat, has called for the "strict respect" of the Tunisian constitution after President Kais Saied suspended parliament and sacked the Prime Minister and a number of ministers following violent protests last Sunday.

A statement by the AU said Mr. Mahamat had a telephone conversation with the Tunisian foreign minister in which he stressed the necessary maintenance of peace and rejection of all forms of violence and the promotion of political dialogue to resolve the problems at hand.

The top AU official also stressed "the need to respond to the legitimate aspirations of the Tunisian people, especially its Youth".

The statement said Mr. Mahamat is closely monitoring the situation in Tunisia.

President Saied has sacked Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, Minister of Defence, Brahim Bartagi and the Minister of Civil Service and Acting Minister of Justice, Hasna Ben Slimane, and imposed a night-time curfew for one month following the violent demonstrations.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rached Ghanouchi, who is the leader of the Islamist movement, denounced the actions of President Saied as "a coup" saying they are contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.

The United States, United Nations, European Union, Russia, Libya, Arab League and human rights organisations have called for dialogue and respect for the rule of law in the country.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International said discontent with the government’s COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout, with the second highest daily deaths per million people rate in the world, led to high participation in Sunday's protests.

It noted that Tunisia has been undergoing a shaky democratic transition since it toppled its longtime ruler, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, the 2011 Revolution that triggered the Arab Spring .

-0- PANA MA 28July2021