Tunisian president faces 'serious threats': ministry

(Photo: AFP)
Tunisia's President Kais Saied is the target of "serious threats", the Interior Ministry said Friday, 11 months after the head of state grabbed power.اضافة اعلان

"According to credible information and investigations still underway, the president of the republic and the presidency as an institution are the target of serious threats," ministry spokeswoman Fadhila Khelifi told journalists.

"There is a plan by groups both at home and abroad to target the security of the president" and to "damage state security and create chaos" in the North African country, she said.

Khelifi did not provide more details on the threats or their origin.

Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, a prominent left-wing politician and Saied opponent, cast doubt over the claims.

"This is just to justify new arrests and to take revenge against his rivals," Chebbi told AFP.

"The president is politically isolated and is trying to stir up public sympathy."

The Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, which had dominated Tunisian politics before Saied's power grab, dismissed the alleged threats as "theatre" intended to divert attention from the crisis provoked by the president.

The party's spokesman, Imed Khemiri, also described as "a settling of accounts targeting political adversaries" the arrest on Thursday of former prime minister Hamadi Jebali.

The Interior Ministry said the detention of Jebali, an ex-senior official in Ennahdha, was linked to the transfer of large sums of money from abroad to a charity.

Saied sacked the government and suspended parliament in July last year. He later extended his powers over the judiciary and moved to change the constitution in the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings.

Some Tunisians have welcomed his moves against a system seen as corrupt and unable to tackle the country's deep social and economic issues.

But opponents have condemned them as a coup.

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