TUNIS: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on Tuesday threw his country’s “full support” behind Tunisian President Kais Saied, who has suspended parliament, sacked the prime minister and seized executive power.
“We affirm the full support of the Arab Republic of Egypt for the stability and the fulfullment of the will of the Tunisian people,” Shoukry said after meeting Saied in Tunis.
On July 25, Saied invoked the constitution to seize executive power in what his main opponents, the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, denounced as a “coup.”
Nine days later, Tunisia is still awaiting the appointment of a new prime minister.
Tunisia is undergoing “a historic moment, undertaken by a person who attaches the highest importance to the values of democracy, the constitution and institutions,” Shoukry said.
Saied visited Cairo in late 2020 to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who overthrew an elected Islamist government in 2013, and has since led a crackdown on the opposition, especially the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
On Saturday, the United States urged Tunisia to quickly return to the “democratic path.”
The young democracy, with a population of around 12 million people, had often been cited as the sole success story of the 2011 Arab Spring.
But a decade on, many say they have seen little improvement in living standards, and are frustrated by Tunisia’s protracted political deadlock and infighting among the elite.
Tunisia is also in economic crisis as well as struggling to contain cases of Covid-19, with hospitals overwhelmed and shortages of oxygen.