Saied sworn in as Tunisian president


Kais Saied, a political outsider and retired law professor, was sworn in as Tunisian president after winning a landslide victory in this month’s election.

Saied’s win delivered a blow to a governing elite accused of failing to improve living standards or end corruption since the 2011 revolution that introduced democracy after years of authoritarian rule.

Even with a large mandate, the new president has less direct control of policy than the prime minister and both will face tough challenges including high unemployment and fighting corruption.

“There will be no tolerance in wasting any millime (cent) of the money of our people,” Saied said in a speech.

He vowed to protect freedoms, saying: “Those who have nostalgia to go back to the old years only pursue illusions and mirages”.

Tunisia’s president controls foreign and defence policy, governing alongside a prime minister chosen by parliament with authority over domestic affairs.

Saied envisages a bigger state role in the economy.

“We are moving from frustration to construction and work,” he added.

Tunisia has a fragmented legislature in which the largest party, the moderate Islamist Ennahda, has 52 of 219 seats.

Saied wants Tunisians to elect small local councils based on the character of their representatives rather than party or ideology. They would in turn choose regional representatives who would choose national ones.