Tunisia names interior minister following ‘coup’

TUNIS (AFP) – Tunisia’s President Kais Saied on Thursday appointed a former national security adviser as interior minister, days after grabbing power in what his opponents labelled a “coup”.

The new appointee, Ridha Gharsallaoui, is also a top ranking former police official, local media reported.

The presidency announced his nomination just as Saied, who has spoken of “imminent dangers” to the North African country, came under increasing international and domestic pressure to form a new government.

While the president’s actions fuelled political turmoil, United States (US) Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that Saied had promised him he was committed to democracy.

But Blinken also urged action, including the restoration of Parliament, which the Tunisian president suspended last Sunday for 30 days as he seized all executive powers.

“The intentions he expressed to me were to return Tunisia to that democratic path, and to act in a way that was consistent with the constitution,” Blinken said during an interview with Al Jazeera, of a conversation with Saied earlier this week.

New Tunisian Acting Interior Minister Ridha Gharsallaoui with Tunisian President Kais Saiedis after a swearing in ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Carthage, outside Tunis, Tunisia. PHOTO: AP