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Reactions after Tunisian President Fires Cabinet

Tunisian president Kais Saied has announced a month-long curfew as he appeared to tighten his grip on power in the north African country one day after he dismissed the prime minister. The new restrictions, announced by presidential order late on Monday, prohibit the movement of people between cities outside times of curfew, except for basic needs or for urgent health reasons. Saied, an independent without a party behind him, invoked emergency powers under the constitution late on Sunday to dismiss prime minister Mechichi. He later sacked the justice and defence ministers, and suspended parliament for 30 days. Saied vowed any violent opposition would be met with force. There was also strong support on social media but the legality of the move remains uncertain. A constitutional professor by training, Saied has claimed that he is acting within the law. Observers, however, are already warning that the decision to invoke article 80 of the constitution, which allows the president to take “exceptional measures in the event of imminent danger”, effectively translates to total executive power for an unspecified period of time. As well as sacking the ministers and suspending parliament for 30 days, the immunity of MPs has been lifted. Saied’s actions were denounced as a coup by the country’s main parties, including Islamists. He has rejected those allegations.