Tunisian interior ministry confirms threats to president's life

 
TUNISIA WAS once considered the Arab Spring’s sole success story, but President Kais Saied has dissolved parliament, dismissed the government and assumed autocratic powers.
(photo credit: MUHAMMAD HAMED/REUTERS)

The ministry said both internal and external elements were involved in plans targeting the president.

Tunisia's interior ministry said on Friday it had information about serious threats to the life of the president and that it had foiled what it called a separate terrorist attack, adding to security concerns as the country faces a political crisis.

The ministry said both internal and external elements were involved in plans targeting the president. Spokesperson Fadhila Khelifi said in a news conference that "the goal was to undermine Tunisian public security."

"The goal was to undermine Tunisian public security."

Fadhila Khelifi

In what the ministry said was a separate incident, an attacker was arrested after injuring two police after targeting them overnight "at a sensitive point in the capital," said Faker Bouzghaya, head of communications for the ministry.

Opposition to Saied

President Kais Saied's opponents accuse him of a coup for seizing most powers last summer to rule by decree and preparing a new constitution that he plans to put to a referendum next month.

Tunisian presidential candidate Kais Saied reacts after exit poll results were announced in a second round runoff of the presidential election in Tunis, Tunisia October 13, 2019. (credit: ZOUBEIR SOUISSI / REUTERS)

Opposition to Saied's moves has broadened over recent months as nearly all major political parties as well as the powerful labor union have come out against his plans, holding street rallies against him.

However, while critics of the president say his moves have raised concerns over rights and freedoms won in the 2011 revolution that brought democracy, there has been no widespread crackdown on the opposition or wave of arrests.

Saied says his moves are legal and were needed to save Tunisia from years of political paralysis and economic stagnation.

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