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WORLD NEWS | Tunisian parliament meets for first time since 2021

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The LATAM Airlines plane hit the vehicle on the runway (Image: Twitter / @AirCrash_)

Tunisia (Tunisia), March 13 (AP) — Tunisia’s new parliament convened Monday, the first time the country has a functioning legislature since the president sealed off the previous parliament with troops in 2021.

The main opposition coalition announced it would not recognize the new parliament, whose members were elected in December and January elections that were boycotted by opponents of the president and ignored by the masses. Only 11% of voters voted.

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At Monday’s inaugural session, lawmakers will elect a new speaker of parliament to succeed Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist movement’s Baath party, whose party has the most MPs in the outgoing parliament.

Unusually, only journalists from the state broadcaster and the official state news agency were allowed into parliament for the opening ceremony, with dozens of journalists protesting outside.

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The meeting comes amid a growing crackdown on opposition Islamists and independent media and other dissenting voices, as well as migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.

President Keith Saeed suspended the previous parliament in July 2021, saying it was to save the country. Said and many Tunisians at the time blamed Islamic lawmakers for the country’s economic and social crisis.

Saeed has since passed legislation by decree and has begun to amass more and more power. This has attracted international attention because Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings a decade ago, is the only country where a new democracy has emerged.

Under the new constitution, approved by Saeed in a referendum, the new legislature has less power than its predecessor.

It intends to have 161 members, compared to 217 in the previous Parliament. But only 154 candidates were elected in two rounds of legislative voting, as no candidate was willing to run in the seven electoral districts representing Tunisia outside the country, reflecting widespread disillusionment among the political class.

Most political parties boycotted the election, given that Saeed initiated an electoral process aimed at establishing his control of the country.

The main opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front, said in a statement Sunday that it does not recognize the new parliament “arising from an illegitimate constitution and elections that were boycotted by an overwhelming majority.” (AP)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)


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