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Tunisian president sacks TV chief

TUNISIAN President Kais Saied sacked the head of state television today as his opponents called for dialogue. 

Mohamed Lassaad Dahech was replaced by a provisional appointee at the broadcaster as the president tightens his grip on power in the north African nation. 

Mr Saied assumed executive and judicial control at the weekend after suspending parliament and removing prime minister Hichem Mechichi. 

His actions followed mass protests that reflect growing anger over government handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the economy.

Secular Tunisians also feared that the Ennahdha party, which dominates parliament, wanted to turn the country into an Islamist state. 

The president’s opponents have accused him of staging a coup, but he insists that he acted within his powers at a time of crisis.

Although Ennahdha has called for dialogue to resolve the crisis, Mr Saied has so far indicated that he will freeze out the Islamist party and continue to wield executive power.

Tunisia was the birthplace of the so-called Arab Spring, which began with the ousting of brutal dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.

It was also the first of the countries whose rulers were toppled to hold democratic elections, but it has been plagued by instability since then with a succession of often short-lived governments.

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