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Tunisia Leader Vows to Respect Democracy Amid Power Grab Claim

  • Kais Saied fired the prime minister, suspended parliament
  • He’s on an offensive to win popular legitimacy for his moves
 Kais Saied at the Carthage Palace on July 27.

 Kais Saied at the Carthage Palace on July 27.

Photographer: Tunisian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tunisia’s president vowed to protect the country’s fragile democracy, as he sought to calm concerns that he’s staged a putsch in the cradle of the Arab Spring.

Kais Saied, who fired Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and suspended parliament on Sunday night, told civil society groups that he was intent on guaranteeing freedoms and respecting the rule of law, Mahdi al-Galasi, head of the Journalists’ Syndicate, told Bloomberg by phone on Tuesday. He said Saied had met with the gathering late Monday in a bid to further clarify decisions that parliament’s largest bloc, the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, dubbed a coup.