https://www.polity.org.za
Deepening Democracy through Access to Information
Home / News / African News RSS ← Back
Power|System
Power|System
power|system
Close

Email this article

separate emails by commas, maximum limit of 4 addresses

Sponsored by

Close

Article Enquiry

Tunisian president takes most powers in proposed constitution

Close

Embed Video

Tunisian president takes most powers in proposed constitution

1st July 2022

By: Reuters

SAVE THIS ARTICLE      EMAIL THIS ARTICLE

Font size: -+

Tunisia's president published a planned new constitution on Thursday that he will put to a referendum next month, expanding his own powers and limiting the role of parliament in a vote most political parties have already rejected.

Kais Saied has ruled by decree since last summer, when he brushed aside the parliament and the democratic 2014 constitution in a step his foes called a coup, moving towards one-man rule and vowing to remake the political system.

Advertisement

His intervention last summer has thrust Tunisia into its biggest political crisis since the 2011 revolution that ousted former autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and introduced democracy.

Voters will be asked to approve the new constitution in a July 25 referendum for which there is no minimum level of participation.

Advertisement

With most of the political establishment opposed to his moves and urging their supporters to boycott the vote, analysts say the measure is likely to pass, but with only limited public involvement.

None of the major parties, including the Islamist Ennahda which is the biggest in parliament and has played a major role in successive coalition governments since the revolution, issued immediate comment on the draft constitution.

Meanwhile, many Tunisians are far more focused on a growing economic crisis and threats to public finances that have caused salary delays and the risk of shortages of key subsidised goods.

An online 'consultation' Saied held from January-March in preparation for drafting the constitution received scant attention from Tunisians, with very few taking part.

POWER

The draft constitution published in the official gazette late on Thursday would bring most political power under Saied, give him ultimate authority over the government and judiciary.

Previously, political power was more directly exercised by the parliament, which took the lead role in appointing the government and approving legislation.

Under the new constitution, the government would answer to the president and not to parliament, though the chamber could withdraw confidence from the government with a two-thirds majority.

Saied would be allowed to present draft laws, have sole responsibility for proposing treaties and drafting state budgets, appoint or sack government ministers and appoint judges, the gazette said.

He could serve two terms of five years each, but extend them if he felt there was an imminent danger to the state, and would have the right to dissolve parliament while no clause allows for the removal of a president.

The constitution would allow Saied to continue to rule by decree until the creation of a new parliament through an election expected in December.

It would also create a new 'Council of Regions' as a second chamber of parliament, but it gives few details on how it would be elected or what powers it would have.

Saied, a political independent, has promised a new electoral law. Though he has not yet published it, he has indicated that voters would only choose candidates as individuals, not as members of political parties.

Meanwhile, although Islam will no longer be the state religion, Tunisia will be regarded as part of the wider Islamic nation and the state should work to achieve Islamic goals. The president must be Muslim.

However, Saied has maintained most parts of the 2014 constitution that enumerated rights and liberties, including freedom of speech, the right to organise in unions and the right to peaceful gatherings.

However, judges, police, army and customs officials would not have a right to go on strike. Judges have recently been on strike for weeks in protest at Saied's moves to curtail judicial independence.

EMAIL THIS ARTICLE      SAVE THIS ARTICLE

To subscribe email subscriptions@creamermedia.co.za or click here
To advertise email advertising@creamermedia.co.za or click here

Comment Guidelines

About

Polity.org.za is a product of Creamer Media.
www.creamermedia.co.za

Other Creamer Media Products include:
Engineering News
Mining Weekly
Research Channel Africa

Read more

Subscriptions

We offer a variety of subscriptions to our Magazine, Website, PDF Reports and our photo library.

Subscriptions are available via the Creamer Media Store.

View store

Advertise

Advertising on Polity.org.za is an effective way to build and consolidate a company's profile among clients and prospective clients. Email advertising@creamermedia.co.za

View options
Free daily email newsletter Register Now