WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, were joined by Representatives Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in condemning Tunisian President Saied’s attempt to dissolve the Assembly of Representatives, Tunisia’s parliamentary body, which serves as the latest in a series of concerning moves that threaten Tunisia’s democratic institutions and portend the further deterioration of the rule of law:
“We condemn President Saied’s attempt to dissolve Tunisia’s parliamentary body, the Assembly of Representatives, hours after it met to suspend the exceptional measures that expanded executive authorities beginning in July 2021.
“Tunisia has made remarkable strides towards establishing a sound framework for inclusive and pluralistic rule since 2011. Today, however, we are seeing concerning moves that threaten Tunisia’s democratic institutions and portend a further deterioration of the rule of law. President Saied’s continued consolidation of power, the dismissal of Tunisia’s Supreme Judicial Council, efforts to restrict civil society organizations, and now possible threats to initiate legal proceedings against members of parliament all point to backsliding.
“The long-standing U.S.-Tunisian bilateral relationship is bound by a commitment to the principles of democratic governance. President Saied must restore democratic rule of law and cease any interference with parliament. We strongly urge President Saied to respect Tunisia's democratic institutions and allow for freedom of association and expression as stipulated in the Tunisian constitution. Further, we urge President Saied to work constructively with all Tunisians, including members of parliament and Tunisia’s civil society community, to further an inclusive and transparent reform process.”