Tunisia’s Ghannouchi says 20 MPs under investigation after online session

FILE PHOTO: Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi speaks during an interview with Reuters in his office, in Tunis
FILE PHOTO: Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, head of the moderate Islamist Ennahda, speaks during an interview with Reuters in his office, in Tunis, Tunisia, March 9, 2021. REUTERS/Jihed Abidellaoui/File Photo

March 31, 2022

TUNIS (Reuters) – At least 20 members of Tunisia’s parliament who took part in an online session in defiance of President Kais Saied have been summoned by an anti-terrorism unit for investigation, the parliament speaker said on Thursday.

Wednesday’s parliament session was the first since Saied announced last year he was suspending the chamber as he moved to one-man rule in measures his critics call a coup.

Saied responded to the session overnight by dissolving the chamber and ordering investigations into the more than half of the parliament members who took part.

The session and Saied’s announcement that he was dissolving the parliament represent a major escalation in Tunisia’s political confrontation between the president and his opponents.

Speaking to Reuters in an interview, the parliament’s speaker Rached Ghannouchi said those summoned included members of his own Islamist Ennahda party as well as other lawmakers.

Ghannouchi said Saied’s dissolution of the parliament was unconstitutional and was a move that destroyed the institutions of state.

(Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Gareth Jones, William Maclean)