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France urges Tunisia to fast-track appointment of new PM, govt

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France on Wednesday urged Tunisia to rapidly appoint a new prime minister and government as the north African country lurched further into political uncertainty.

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France on Wednesday urged Tunisia to rapidly appoint a new prime minister and government as the north African country lurched further into political uncertainty.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told his counterpart Othman Jerandi that Tunisians were expecting such a move, after President Kais Saied sacked more officials, having earlier suspended parliament and assumed executive powers in what opponents have labelled a “coup”.

Speaking to Jerandi by phone, Le Drian underlined “the importance of a rapid appointment of a prime minister and the formation of a government that is in a position to meet the expectations of Tunisians”, according to a French foreign ministry spokesperson.

He also said it was “necessary to preserve calm, and the rule of law, and to allow a rapid return to a normal functioning of Tunisia’s democratic institutions”.

France had early this week already called on Tunis to create the conditions for institutions to refocus their efforts on the country’s health, economic and social crises.

Key civil society groups in Tunisia have warned against any “illegitimate” extension of Saied’s 30-day suspension of parliament, and demanded in a joint statement a timeline for political action.

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After suspending parliament and sacking Hichem Mechichi as prime minister on Sunday, dismissing the defence and justice ministers on Monday, Saied then issued orders dismissing a series of top officials.

Saied says his actions are justified under the constitution, which allows the head of state to take unspecified exceptional measures in the event of an “imminent threat”.

(AFP)

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