Tunisia has been arguably long regarded as one of the only states to successfully transition to a democracy that emerged from the Arab Spring. However, on Sunday 25th July, this all came into question when the President, Kais Saied, invoked Article 80 of the countries constitution. Using Art. 80, which allows the president to take “necessary measures” when the country is “in a state of imminent danger”, Saeid dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, suspended parliament and lifted the immunity of politicians for 30 days.
These decisions to suspend parliament and dismiss the government with the backing of the army and the security forces, while putting limitations on press freedom and making threats of violence, cannot be defined as anything other than a coup d’etat.
In recent weeks there has been a rise in anger over the government's handling of a massive recent spike in Covid cases, which added to the general unrest over the nation's economic and social turmoil. This fuelled the Presidents decision to enact Art. 80 and ultimately take over complete power.
In response his supporters erupted in celebration, but opponents in parliament immediately accused him of staging a coup. Clashes amongst the opposition groups has continued throughout the week.