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Tunisian MPs refuse to dissolve parliament

February 5, 2014 at 2:12 am

The Tunisian Prime Ministry has issued a statement saying that the deputies of the parliament are refusing to dissolve it, claiming that this would lead to “chaos”.

Meanwhile other deputies have threatened to withdraw their confidence from the current Head of Parliament, Mustafa Ben Jaafar, after he cancelled a session scheduled to discuss the national dialogue initiative.

According to the ministry’s statement, during a meeting between MPs and Prime Minister Ali Laarayed, the MPs expressed their support for the national dialogue initiative “as long as it supports legitimacy and commits to serving the people’s trust in elected officials”. The MPs stressed that they will only “surrender the Constituent Assembly (parliament) Secretariat to those entrusted by the people through elections and will continue to draw up required laws that ensure the state’s continuity.”

Under the national dialogue initiative put forward by the General Union of Tunisian Workers, the Tunisian League for Human Rights, the National Bar Association, the Federation of Industry and Commerce and others, the government and the parliament would be dissolved and an election commission formed to schedule the next elections.

Meanwhile, on Thursday the MPs protested a decision by Ben Jaafar to cancel a scheduled public meeting to discuss the national dialogue initiative, according to one MP. The MP, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that dozens of MPs have threatened to withdraw their confidence from Ben Jaafar’s role as Head of Parliament due to his decision to cancel the meeting, and they have given him a list of 60 deputies who had already agreed to sign on.

According to parliamentary law, in order to withdraw confidence from the Head of the Parliament, at least 70 deputies must sign onto a list to be presented for discussion at a plenary session and then voted on with the majority supporting the vote.

Meanwhile, preliminary hearings to initiate the national dialogue continue while the participating political forces are still looking into the legal obstacles facing the formation of a new body called the Independent Elections High Authority, which would replace the Interior Ministry’s role to oversee future elections.