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Sharp divisions in Tunisia over 'political ban' of ousted regime

May 4, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Voting on the proposed electoral law at the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly has been suspended after heated arguments triggered by MPs’ refusal of an article that bans candidacy of leaders of the ousted regime.

Chapter 167 of the bill stipulates that any person who previously held responsibility at the dissolved Democratic Constitutional Assembly, as well as any member of the toppled Ben Ali’s government, would be banned from running for elections scheduled to be held towards the end of 2014, according to the new Tunisian constitution.

The ban excluded government officials who had not been members of the ruling party.

The chapter required a minimum of 109 votes to be passed. However, only 108 voted for the chapter, which angered many MPs who viewed this as a setback for the revolution.

“The blood of martyrs has not dried yet,” one MP cried in anger, while another MP chanted “Leave!” referring to the dissolved Ben Ali’s party.

As a result of the tension that marred the session, the chairman Mostafa Ben Gaafar suspended it.

Affiliates of Ben Ali’s regime continue to hold a number of positions in the government and key political parties, which led to sharp disagreements among revolutionary political parties wary of the return of the former, authoritarian regime.