publish date 2021-09-23 20:14:48
Two experts saw that the Tunisian President, Kais Saied, is heading to abolish the Constitution of 2104 without explicitly declaring this; Taking into account his supporters at home who cling to the constitution, and out of fear of the possible repercussions of the outside characterizing Tunisia as a “revolutionary state.”
While one of them, in an interview with Anatolia, underestimated the ability of the internal opposition to stop the president’s plan, the other reported a change in the positions of parties and organizations regarding Said’s exceptional decisions, suggesting the building of an internal front to confront what he described as the coup.
On Wednesday, the presidency and the official “Al-Raed” newspaper announced temporary measures to organize the executive and legislative authorities, which observers considered to enhance the powers of Saeed, who began in 2019 a 5-year presidential term, at the expense of Parliament and the government, as part of a severe political crisis in the country.
The presidency stated, in a statement, the continued suspension of the functions of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People (Parliament), and the lifting of immunity from its deputies, and that the president will prepare draft amendments related to political reforms, with the help of a committee organized by presidential order.
She emphasized the continuation of work on the preamble to the constitution and the first chapters (general principles) and the second of it (rights and freedoms) and all constitutional provisions that do not contradict Said’s exceptional measures, in addition to abolishing the temporary body to monitor the constitutionality of laws.
While the Official Gazette announced “the issuance of laws of a legislative nature in the form of decrees signed by the President of the Republic,” and that “the President exercises executive power with the assistance of a government headed by the Prime Minister.”
Basically, the executive authority was in the hands of the government until Saeed, on July 25, started his exceptional measures by freezing the powers of Parliament, lifting the immunity of his deputies, and dismissing the Prime Minister, Hisham Al-Mashishi.
** Constitution suspended
Tariq al-Kahlawi, an academic and political expert, told Anadolu Agency that “from the way Article 80 of the constitution is implemented, there is an interpretation that has been called the abuse of the constitution.”
He added that “the president believes that the constitution can be amended by issuing transitional provisions, under the framework of Chapter 80, within the framework of exceptional measures that suspend almost entire parts of the constitution and keep the rest of the chapters related to rights and freedoms.”
He considered that “the president is committed to the formality, or at least at the official level, to preserving the constitution.”
He felt that this “considered practically a suspension of the constitution; Because suspending parts of the executive authority within the framework of transitional provisions implies suspending the constitution.”
** The president is “contradictory”
Jawhar bin Mubarak, a professor of constitutional law, also went that “the president’s speech to his supporters, followers, followers and the people who push him to go to al-Aqsa shows that he is determined to abolish the constitution.”
Bin Mubarak considered, in an interview with Anadolu Agency, that “the president is contradictory. He says that he adheres to the constitution and moves within its framework. He is surprised how we call it a coup, and in the same speech he talks about transitional provisions.”
And he added, “The transitional provisions will at least regulate the executive authority, the work of the presidency and the government, the president’s relationship with the government, and the government’s relationship with the legislative authority, which means that he suspended or struck almost half of the constitution… the door of the legislative authority and the door of the executive authority with its two halves (the presidency and the government).”
He stressed that “this is an attack on the constitution, and we do not know how the president of the republic can remain respectful of the constitution while violating half of it.”
He continued, “The President of the Republic talked about a new electoral bill, and used the phrase a bill, meaning he will use the validity of the legislative initiative stipulated in the constitution.”
He added that “a draft law means that it will be presented to the House of Representatives for approval, and this is not clear; Because suspending the door of the legislative authority with transitional provisions means that we will walk in different legislative paths.”
Bin Mubarak suggested that “Said may mean that he will pass a draft law by decree, but the constitution stipulates that the electoral law does not fall within the field of decrees, so how will he give himself the power of decrees, and how will an electoral law be issued by decrees, which are constitutionally prohibited (?).. All of this He says he will remain respectful of the constitution.”
** Presidential system
Al-Kahlawi considered that “the debate about whether Saeed left the constitution or not is a constitutional and not a political one. What matters most is that he is nominally committed to preserving the constitution for mainly political reasons; Because he knows that there are people inside who support him or intersect with him, who adhere to the constitution.”
And he added: “On the external level, the matter is important, because Said went abroad more than once in his speech in (the state) of Sidi Bouzid (center – Monday). Departing from the constitution will pose a political problem, and Saeed knows that the issue will be raised abroad in confusion and confusion.”
He continued: “Politically, it needs to maintain the current constitutional framework, but in practice it needs transitional provisions to control the government, so we will live in a period of a presidential system to the point of holding a referendum on the constitution.”
He added: Saeed does not want only a presidential system, but a “presidential council system,” which is a mixture of the presidential system in the American style, meaning the president forms the government, and a council system that is not elections, but rather local councils escalate to Parliament.
Agreeing with Al-Kahlawi, “Ben Mubarak” stated that Saeed pays considerations to the outside in implementing his program.
He said that “Saeed addressed a speech abroad, and shouted several times, “Let the world hear it,” that he will not abolish the constitution; Because the pressures on him are strong externally, and because he knows that canceling the constitution will lead to the classification of Tunisia as a coup state and a de facto government.”
He added that “this has legal, financial and economic consequences, thus (Said) reassured the supporters that he was going to the coup, and at the same time reassured the outside that he would not go to the coup any more, so it was a strange speech full of contradictions.”
** The entire executive branch
According to Al-Kahlawi, “Said will work, through transitional provisions, to bypass the old way of running the state with a President of the Republic who specializes only in defense and foreign affairs, and a Prime Minister who has the rest of the competencies.”
He continued: “And therefore, Saeed guarantees the operation of the entire executive authority and ensures that whoever is appointed by the prime minister has specific powers.”
He added, “But if the prime minister is appointed with the old powers, he may not be under the full control of the president of the republic…but with the new provisions, he will ensure that the prime minister is under the president’s direction.”
** Opposition position
On the extent of the opposition’s ability to confront Said’s plan, Al-Kahlawi said that “Saeed seemed decisive in his orientations during his speech in Sidi Bouzid.. He did not go in the direction of retreat, and the transitional phase is existential for him, and he is not ready to leave any part of the authority escaping from him. He proposed a formula that it does not abolish the constitution but only transitional provisions.”
He added: “At the level of the balance of political forces, the main party that can take positions is the outside, and inside the balance of power is in his favour, at the level of state agencies and the street.”
He believed that “the political parties are more concerned that they do not know the details of the transitional period than they are in rejection of Saeed’s directions, and at the time he meets with them, these positions soften. He is clear that he will not talk to Ennahda.”
And “Ennahda” is the owner of the largest bloc in Parliament, with 53 deputies out of 217, and its head, Rached Ghannouchi, is the speaker of Parliament, whose powers Said froze.
However, “Ben Mubarak” differs with Kahlawi’s assessment of the ability of the internal opposition to influence the future of Tunisia.
He said that “the general atmosphere began to change a few days ago. Well-balanced parties, including parties that were blindly supportive of Saeed’s decisions, began to issue strongly worded statements, and this will continue as the coup penetrated into its coup.”
He continued, “Also, the passion of national organizations has begun to change, such as the Labor Union (the largest labor union). The successive statements of (its General Secretary Noureddine) Taboubi, especially Tuesday’s speech, show that there is a rupture between the labor organization and the president.”
And he continued: “On September 18 (a pause in the capital, rejecting Said’s decisions), history began to move, albeit symbolically, and this move is likely to continue, and it is an indication that the president no longer has a monopoly on political speech… and there will be interactions in the days and weeks towards building an internal front to confront to the coup.”
** A potential adventure
Bin Mubarak suggested that “things in the country are going to get complicated, as the coup has no prospect but toppling the house on everyone.
He believed that “the problem is in the process of forming a government, how the government will be legitimized. Foreign countries and the European Union are asking for a legitimate government, which means that it is going through the constitutional path so that it can be obligated and committed at the international level.”
He considered that “this presupposes the return of Parliament to work, and the President of the Republic rejects this, and therefore obstructs the formation of the government, fearing that it will not be recognized internationally, and this is a dilemma from all sides.”
And he concluded, “The president may go on an adventure not to listen to anyone from the inside or outside, and go towards implementing his perceptions, which creates a suffocating crisis and possibly catastrophic developments for the country, and perhaps even for the presidency of the republic later.”
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Source : ألدستور