Tunisia's Kais Saied tells France's Macron national dialogue expected soon

Mention of dialogue would be the first indication the president is ready to consult more widely since he took control in July

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) shakes ahnds with Tunisian President Kais Saied during a joint press conference after their meeting at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, on June 22, 2020.  / AFP / POOL / Christophe PETIT TESSON

Tunisian President Kais Saied has told French President Emmanuel Macron a national dialogue will take place soon.

"Mr Saied indicated that the government would be formed in the coming days and that a national dialogue would be launched in its wake," the French president's office said, after the two leaders spoke on the phone.

Mention of dialogue would be the first indication since he seized powers in July that Mr Saied is ready to consult more widely on finding a way out of the crisis, Reuters reported.

He appointed Najla Bouden Romdhane as prime minister on Wednesday and asked her to form a Cabinet quickly, but she is expected to have fewer powers than previous heads of government.

Mr Saied has suspended much of the constitution and said he would rule by decree. The decree also cast the role of head of government as an assistant to the president, rather than a check on him. All executive power still resides with Mr Saied.

A statement by Mr Saied's office after the phone call with Mr Macron did not mention any plans for a dialogue.

The labour union UGTT and major parties in the suspended parliament have all urged Mr Saied to include them in any talks about Tunisia's constitution and political system.

Although Mr Saied's intervention appeared popular after years of economic stagnation and political paralysis, opposition to it has grown in the two months since with no clear road map to end the problems.

Tunisia faces difficulties in public finances and talks with the IMF for a rescue package stopped when Mr Saied dismissed the previous government.

Updated: October 3rd 2021, 3:53 AM
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