President Kais Saied issues orders that strengthen powers of his office at the expense of government and allow him to legislate by decree, prompting immediate opposition from political rivals.
Tunisia's President Kais Saied has issued orders that strengthen the powers of his office at the expense of the government and allow him to legislate by decree, a statement said.
The provisions, which appear to be aimed at tipping the balance of power in favour of the presidency, were laid out in a series of decrees published in the official gazette on Wednesday, almost two months after Saied sacked the government and suspended parliament.
Saied has held nearly total power since July 25 when he sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority, citing a national emergency in a move his foes called a coup.
As the weeks have passed, he has come under growing pressure from key Tunisian political players and Western donors to name a prime minister and explain how he intends to move past the crisis.
The presidency said Saied had put in place new legislative and executive measures, without spelling out what these were, and said he would form a committee to amend the political system.
Other parts of the constitution would stay in force, it said.
It said parliament's activities would remain frozen with members' right of immunity from prosecution still lifted.
Ennahda rejects announcements
The leader of Ennahda party, the biggest in the deeply fragmented parliament and a member of successive governing coalitions, immediately rejected Saied's announcements.
Rached Ghannouchi told Reuters news agency the announcement meant cancelling the constitution and that Ennahda, which had already declared Saied's July 25 intervention a coup, would not accept that.
This month a Saied adviser told Reuters he was planning to suspend the constitution and offer a new version via a public referendum, prompting a backlash from the powerful labour union and political parties.
Saied has denied having dictatorial aspirations, insists his moves are constitutional and has vowed to uphold the rights of Tunisians.
His broadly popular intervention came after years of economic stagnation and political paralysis, aggravated by a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases and a day of violent protests.