Tunisians protest against president one week before parliamentary election

Kaid Saied dissolved the previous parliament and ruled by decree before introducing a new constitution

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Hundreds of people joined a protest against President Kais Saied in Tunisia's capital on Saturday, one week before elections for a parliament with reduced powers under a new constitution introduced this year.

Mr Saied last year dissolved the previous elected parliament and ruled by decree before drafting the new constitution that gives the presidency more powers. The moves have been rejected by most of Tunisia’s political parties.

The president said his actions were legal and necessary to save Tunisia from years of crisis and has repeatedly said he will not become a dictator.

Tunisians had grown increasingly frustrated over recent years at economic stagnation and political paralysis, with a divided parliament and unstable government.

Elections will be held on December 17 for the new, less powerful parliament created by Mr Saied's constitution, which was passed through a referendum in July with low turnout.

Saturday’s protest was called by the National Salvation Front, comprising major political parties including Ennahda, the largest party in the dissolved parliament. Speakers at the protest called for a boycott of what they said was an illegitimate election.

“All the opposition is agreed on one position which is rejecting a coup and calling for a return to democracy,” said Samira Chaouachi, the former deputy parliament speaker.

With reporting from agencies

Updated: December 10, 2022, 1:41 PM