Political outsider Saied sworn in as Tunisia's president

Tunisia's elected president Kais Saied takes the oath of office at the Assembly of People's Representatives in Tunis, Tunisia. [Reuters]
Kais Saied, a political outsider and retired law professor, was sworn in as Tunisian president on Wednesday after he won a landslide victory in this month’s election.

Saied’s win delivered a heavy blow to a governing elite accused of failing to improve living standards or end corruption since the 2011 revolution that introduced democracy after years of authoritarian rule.

Even with a large mandate, the new president has less direct control of policy than the prime minister and both will quickly face a series of tough challenges including high unemployment rates and fighting corruption.

“There will be no tolerance in wasting any millime (cent) of the money of our people,” Saied said in a speech.

SEE ALSO :Battle of Carthage: Tunisia demolishes homes to protect ancient site

He vowed to protect freedoms, saying: “Those who have nostalgia to go back to the old years only pursue illusions and mirages,” he added.

Tunisia’s president controls foreign and defense policy, governing alongside a prime minister chosen by parliament who has authority over domestic affairs.

But Saied said he envisaged a bigger state role in the economy.

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“We are moving from frustration to construction and work,” he added.

Tunisia has a deeply fragmented legislature in which the largest party, the moderate Islamist Ennahda, has only 52 of the 219 seats.

SEE ALSO :Tunisia electoral commission approves 26 presidential candidates

Saied wants Tunisians to elect small local councils based on the character of their representatives rather than party or ideology. They would in turn choose regional representatives who would choose national ones.

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