At the end of an extraordinary meeting of its Shura (Consultative) Council, Tunisia’s Al-Nahda Party has agreed on having a dual parliamentary system which balances the powers of the president and prime minister. Announcing the move, senior member Fathi Li’yadi stressed that they are looking for success in the national dialogue and agreement among political parties.
Small Tunisian parties are calling for the retention of the current semi-proportional representation system, which includes counting fractions of voters. Several Tunisian leaders are also calling for the adoption of a presidential system, which would increase the president’s power. Critics say that this would provide an opportunity for the return of an autocratic regime.
The national dialogue was suspended at the beginning of this week and a meeting for the parties involved was planned for Monday; it should have overcome all of the disagreements among them.
Discussions held by the ruling Al-Nahda Party at the weekend focused on the political system, the relationship between the president and prime minister and the voting system. Shura member Reyad Lishaibi said that his movement is seeking a solution for all the outstanding dossiers through consensus among political parties. He said the aim was to leave the transitional period successfully and guarantee a smooth passage to the new-born democratic experience.
Presidential and parliamentarian elections in Tunis are due before the end of this year. The Islamic movement, which is heading the current government, chose the dual parliamentary system in order to avoid the possibility of Tunisia having another authoritarian system. Despite this obvious danger, small parties are calling for a full presidential system under which the president would have the power to dissolve parliament, supervise military institutions and deal with all foreign relations issues.