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Tunisian president ousts prime minister, suspends parliament amid unrest

Tunisian President Kais Saied announced Sunday that he had dismissed the country's prime minister and frozen the parliament amidst mass protests in the country, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The move escalates Saied's longstanding feud with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and poses a challenge to the 2014 constitution that "split powers between president, prime minister and parliament," per Reuters.

The big picture: Saied defended his decision as in line with the constitution and said he would assume executive authority alongside a new prime minister, per Reuters.

  • Saied also suspended the legal immunity of members of parliament.

State of play: Hours earlier, Tunisia was rocked by mass protests in several cities that were fueled by public dissatisfaction with the government's handling of the coronavirus and a worsening economic crisis, Reuters reports.

  • In several cities protestors and police clashed violently, as crowds stormed the offices of Ennahda, the biggest party in parliament, while demanding the prime minister's resignation and the dissolution of parliament, according to Al Jazeera.
  • Sunday's protests were the largest in months and the biggest to target Ennahda in years, per Reuters.

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