Tunisia Swears In Kais Saied As New President. Image credit: AFP

Retired law professor and political outsider Kais Saied has been 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.

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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.

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.

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