Tunisia: Saied Orders Local Elected Councils Dissolved, Drawing Criticism

by | Mar 8, 2023 | Political, Tunisia


On 8 March 2023, President Kais Saied announced plans to dissolve elected municipal councils and replace them with specially appointed representatives. This move was codified in the Official Gazette the following day. International media cited the move as a further step away from the democratic progress made in the years following Tunisia’s 2011 revolution. The municipal councils were elected in May 2018, and their term of office would normally end in May 2023, according to the electoral law.

While the President did not provide an explanation for the decree, commentators have suggested that this decision came as a result of numerous resignations by members of municipal councils in previous years and the dissolution of multiple municipal councils due to partisan conflicts. 

An order was issued for security forces to protect the headquarters of the municipalities and the institutions affiliated to them to prevent potential attacks on mayors, members of municipal councils, and workers.


Many in the international media have called the President’s decision to dissolve the municipal councils a further erosion of democracy in Tunisia, particularly given that the councils were locally elected bodies. The action appears consistent with Saied’s previous efforts to take decisive action against those institutions or individuals he has identified as corrupt or hindering the reform process he is pursuing. These actions may have further negative impact on Tunisia’s pursuit of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, particularly on the heels of the President’s inflammatory comments regarding black migrants in Tunisia. Our team will continue watching closely for potential impacts on the security and economic environment.


Explore our services or speak with our team of North Africa-based risk experts.