Tunisian New parliament begins first session

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Tunisian new parliament, elected in December and January in a vote with a turnout of 11%, sat for the first time on Monday in a session closed to all but state media and with the opposition coalition saying it would not recognise its legitimacy.

Journalists were not allowed to attend the opening session of parliament for the first time since the 2011 revolution.

Officials told reporters on Monday that only state TV and radio and the state news agency were allowed to cover the event.

President Kais Saied shut down the previous elected parliament in July 2021, moving to rule by decree in a move that opposition parties called a coup.

He has said his actions were legal and needed to save Tunisia from years of crisis.

The new parliament, operating under a constitution that Saied wrote last year and which was passed in a referendum with a turnout of 30%, will have very little power compared with the body it replaces.

Sisi and his supporters say the crackdown was needed to stabilise Egypt, denying that charges against dissidents are politically motivated and asserting that the judiciary acts independently.

Earlier this month, a state security court handed lengthy prison sentences to more than 20 people including rights defenders on terrorism-related charges, in a mass trial denounced by activists as unjust.

U.N. Human Rights Chief Volker Turk said last week that the sentences had been issued “in proceedings on questionable terrorism-related charges which also raised fair trial concerns”.


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