A snap shot of Tunisia's President Kais Saied delivering a speech during his visit to Sidi Bouzid, stronghold of the Tunisian revolution, and broadcasted on national television on September 20, 2021. Photo courtesy of Télévision tunisienne
Tunisia's president has announced plans to draft a new electoral code and appoint a transitional leadership - and to hang on to the exceptional powers that he seized in July.
In a speech Monday night, President Kais Saied promised that the new initiatives would respect Tunisians' hard-fought rights and freedoms and democratic constitution.
Saied spoke to supporters in the impoverished town of Sidi Bouzid, the birthplace of the Arab Spring.
In July 25 decision, Saied suspended parliament, fired the prime minister and seized executive powers, which he said was needed to save the country amid unrest over financial troubles and the government's handling of Tunisia's coronavirus crisis.
He invoked a special constitutional article allowing such measures in the event of imminent danger to the nation, and said they would be in place for 30 days. But they have been extended until further notice.
``Danger still hangs over the country and I cannot leave it like a puppet in the hands of those who act in the shadows, and of corrupt people,'' Saied said Monday. He accused unidentified players of ``conspiring to cause chaos and confusion'' in Tunisia, and said, ``There is no question of going back.''
He promised a new electoral code to hold lawmakers more accountable to constituents, and transitional arrangements to run the country before he names a new prime minister.
*This story was edited by Ahram Online.