No turning back – Tunisian president

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Tunisia President Kais Saied said there was “no turning back” from his decision to freeze parliament and assume executive power, moves opponents branded a coup.

Speaking in a video published by his office, Saied rejected calls for talks over the crisis, saying “there is no dialogue except with the honest” and no dialogue was possible with “cancer cells”.

The biggest party in parliament, the moderate Islamist Ennahda, the most vocal opponent of Saied’s moves, called for earlier in the day.

Eleven days after his intervention, Saied has not named a new prime minister, announced steps to end the emergency or declared  longer term intentions.

The powerful labour union, as well as the US and France, called on him to speedily appoint a new government. The union is preparing a roadmap to end the crisis and will present to Saied.

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez and ranking member Jim Risch were concerned by the situation.

“President Saied must recommit to democratic principles underpinning U.-Tunisia relations and the military must observe its role in a constitutional democracy,” a joint statement said.

Ousted Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi appeared in public for the first time on Thursday since he was dismissed. He was in pictures published by the anti-corruption watchdog it said were taken at its office.