Tunisians Protest Against President a Week Before Parliamentary Elections

Hundreds of Tunisians protested on Saturday against President Kais Saied a week before elections to a new parliament created by his constitutional changes, accusing him of an undemocratic coup.

Saied shut down the previous parliament last year and ruled by decree before rewriting the constitution this year to give the presidency more powers, moves rejected by most political parties.

“Saied get out!” chanted protesters marching in the center of Tunis.

Saied has said his actions were legal and necessary in order 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 Dec. 17 for a new, less powerful parliament created by Saied’s constitution, which was passed through a referendum in July with low turnout.

Speakers at the protest including senior politicians from parties opposing Saied said the election was illegitimate and urged a boycott.

“All the opposition is agreed on one position which is rejecting a coup and calling for a return to democracy,” said Samira Chaouachi, who was deputy speaker in the elected parliament that Saied dissolved.

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