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Ghannouchi: ‘Tunisia undergoing new democratic test’

Leader of Nahda Movement Rachid al-Ghannouchi greets people during a gathering within Nahda Movement's election campaign at Habib Burgiba Street ahead of Tunisia's presidential election in Tunis, Tunisia on 4 October 2019. [Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency]
Leader of Nahda Movement Rachid Al-Ghannouchi in Tunis, Tunisia on 4 October 2019 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi said on Wednesday that “Tunisia is undergoing a new democratic test amid turbulent Arab and international contexts.”

This came in his speech during the opening of the People’s Assembly (Parliament) session dedicated to give confidence to the government of the Prime Minister-designate Elyes Fakhfakh.

Ghannouchi added: “It took us a lot of time, since the 6 October legislative elections, to form the government.”

“However, this challenge confirmed the solidity of the Tunisian experience and its ability to manage discord and dialogue by the constitution and away from populism and political tension,” he added.

Ghannouchi continued: “Tunisians performed their electoral duties last October, and they are now waiting for the government to guarantee them the right to a decent life, health and education in the context of achieving social justice, sustainable development and a fair distribution of wealth.”

He asserted that “the parliament will support all sorts of reformist initiatives, and will accelerate the enactment of legislations that strengthen the hopes of Tunisians to change the difficult living conditions, implement projects, and improve the infrastructure in health, education, and transport sectors, in order to achieve a social and economic transition.”

Read: Tunisia considers suspending flights to Italy over coronavirus

Ghannouchi pointed out that the parliament will work to establish all the constitutional institutions in the country, especially the Constitutional Court.

He also announced the initiation of procedures to elect the three members of the Constitutional Court, whose mandate was vested in parliament.

The Speaker of Parliament considered that “what Tunisia has been experiencing for months and the challenges it has experienced since the revolution (toppling the regime of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in 2010) stressed the need to achieve comprehensive national reconciliation and avoid the exclusion of any party.”

He conveyed that “a comprehensive national reconciliation initiative will be launched soon.”

Ghannouchi expressed his appreciation for the role played by President Kais Saied in achieving consensus, within the framework dictated by the constitution regarding the process of forming the government; in addition to the efforts of social organisations, particularly the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) and the Tunisian Union of Agriculture and Fisheries (UTAP).

The government of Fakhfakh, who announced last Thursday the components of his ministerial team, has been presented on Wednesday to the Parliament for approval.

On 15 November 2019, President Saied appointed Habib Jemli, Ennahda movement’s candidate, to form a government, but the latter failed to gain the confidence of Parliament.

On 20 January, the Tunisian president assigned Elyes Fakhfakh, former leader of the Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties (no representatives), with the formation of a government within a month deadline.

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