Tunisia Leader Resurfaces, Chides Opposition Doubting His Health Claims
The President of Tunisia, kais Saied, has used his first public appearance in nearly two weeks to criticise opponents who were questioning the state of his health.
In a video posted online, the president described speculation that he was ill as “utterly crazy” and accused the opposition of trying to create a crisis.
Coughing occasionally during the address, he said that a power vacuum was not created if he caught a cold.
President Kais Saied has been consolidating power amid a deepening political and economic crisis.
President Saied has ruled by decree since seizing power in 2021 and last year forced through a law giving his office unlimited powers.
Earlier on Monday, Ahmed Nejib Chebbi of the National Salvation Front opposition coalition told journalists: “We ask the government to address the Tunisian people and say if the president has health problems that have forced him to be absent.”
Chebbi said Bouden would run Tunisia in the event of a temporary power vacuum, but that a permanent vacancy would present the country with a “great catastrophe” due to a legislative void.
In his video, Saied accused unnamed people of “trying to create crises” by talking of a power vacuum.
“These people have lost the plot, they’re obsessed with power,” he said.
Saied, who staged a dramatic power grab in July 2021 and has since ruled by decree, last year rammed through a constitution giving his office unlimited powers and neutering parliament.
Since February, security forces have arrested over 20 public figures, including top members of the opposition.