U.S. presses Tunisia's president for swift return to democratic path

Tunisia's new government swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis
Tunisia's President Kais Saied. Fethi Belaid/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON, July 31 (Reuters) - U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan urged Tunisia's president on Saturday to outline a swift return to the "democratic path" following his seizure of governing powers last Sunday, the White House said.

Tunisian President Kais Saied invoked a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic and poor governance to dismiss the prime minister, freeze parliament and seize executive control in a move welcomed by street rallies but which his opponents branded a coup.

In a phone call, Sullivan underscored to Saied the need for "rapidly forming a new government, led by a capable prime minister to stabilize Tunisia’s economy and confront the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as ensuring the timely return of the elected parliament," the White House National Security Council said in a statement.

Reporting by Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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