Tunisian President rejects dialogue with “traitors” | World information

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisia’s President Kais Saied said Tuesday he would not do business with those he called “traitors”, an obvious reference to the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, the largest in the suspended parliament.

Ennahda has called for a national dialogue to find a way forward after Saied sacked the prime minister, frozen parliament and usurped government on July 25th.

“I will not deal with … traitors and those who pay money to insult their country. No dialogue with them,” he said in a video posted online by the presidency.

Local media reported that Ennahda paid a foreign lobby company, which it denied.

“They paid almost 3 million dinars to foreign lobby groups to harm their country,” Saied said in the video, without naming Ennahda.

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More than seven weeks after his intervention plunged Tunisia into the biggest political crisis since democracy was introduced in a 2011 revolution that sparked the Arab Spring, Saied has yet to appoint a new prime minister or announce his future intentions.

Last week one of his advisors told Reuters that he was planning to suspend the constitution and offer an amended version for a public referendum.

The powerful union UGTT rejected this approach the next day, and Saied then said that all constitutional changes must be made within the existing constitutional framework.

The union, as well as Ennahda, other political parties and Western democracies that have supported Tunisia’s public finances, have all urged him to quickly appoint a new government and return to constitutional order.

Saied said in his comments on Tuesday, “Government is important. But more important is how this government will work”.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara, writing by Angus McDowall, editing by Angus MacSwan)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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