Tunisia: President Said strengthens his powers

Tunisian President Kais Saied on Wednesday formalized his July 25 coup by promulgating extraordinary provisions consolidating his powers to the detriment of the government and parliament, which he would actually replace by decree by law.

These provisions, which tend to presuppose the hybrid government system created by the 2014 constitution, aroused the anger of Mr Syed’s main rival, the Islamist-inspired Ennahda Party, in a country stricken by divisions and successive political crises in previous years. .

They also reinforce concerns for the stability of democracy in Tunisia, the only country that has been successful in its democratic transformation after the Arab Spring, which cradle it in 2011.

“Legislative texts are taken as decree-laws and promulgated by the President of the Republic”, said one of the articles, decided by Mr. Syed and published in the Official Journal.

The text also states that “the President exercises executive power with the help of a Council of Ministers headed by the head of government”. “The President of the Republic presides over the Council of Ministers and may delegate his presidency to the head of government.”

The presidential prerogatives outlined in the text give Mr. Saeed the right to appoint and dismiss ministers, to appoint diplomats posted abroad, and to make appointments to the senior civil service.

– “extraordinary measures” –

“The Government is responsible for its actions before the President of the Republic”, further specifies the text.

In the current system governed by the 2014 constitution, to which Mr. Saeed seeks to amend, most of the executive power is in the hands of the government and the measures announced on Wednesday clearly tip the scales in favor of the presidency.

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On 25 July, Mr Syed, 63, took full power by dismissing the government and suspending parliament, in which his pet Ennahdha played a key role. He extended these measures “until further notice” on 24 August.

Many Tunisians enthusiastically welcomed these measures because, angered by their political class, they expected strong action against corruption and impunity in a country with severe social and economic difficulties. But opponents, political parties, magistrates and lawyers said they feared an “authoritarian drift”.

Saeed on Wednesday announced “extraordinary measures” to continue the freezing of parliament and “exercise of legislative power” and “exercise of executive power”, which are the subject of chapter two of the constitution, have now been suspended. Actually.

To underscore the transitory nature of these decisions, the presidential decree states that Mr Syed “prepare draft amendments relating to political reforms with the assistance of a commission which shall be conducted by presidential decree”.

– “high risk area” –

“These amendments should be aimed at the establishment of a true democratic regime in which the people are effectively the holders of sovereignty and the sources of the powers that they exercise through elected representatives or through referendums”, President Said in one decree.

Acting “in the name of the will of the people” has become a mantra for Mr. Sayeed, who believes he has enough popular support to profoundly change the system.

On Monday, from Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of the 2011 revolution, the president announced the upcoming appointment of a new head of government “but on the basis of transitional measures in response to the will of the people”.

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Wednesday’s “decree of the President” says “to suspend all powers of the House of Representatives, to lift parliamentary immunity to all its members, and to abolish the privileges granted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and its members.”

“On September 22, Tunisia transitioned from democratic power to one-man power,” replied Samir Dilou, a leader of Ennahdha, on Facebook.

Another party official, Mohamed al-Goumani, accused Mr. Saeed of “creating a new abbreviated constitution, thus going against the 2014 constitution he was sworn in.” “This is moving Tunisia into a high-risk area. “

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