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Power dispute paralyses Tunisia

Rached Ghannouchi, Tunisian parliament speaker and head of the Ennahda Movement speaks during a panel in Tunis, Tunisia on 12 January 2021. [Yassine Gaidi /Anadolu Agency]
Rached Ghannouchi, Tunisian parliament speaker and head of the Ennahda Movement speaks during a panel in Tunis, Tunisia on 12 January 2021. [Yassine Gaidi /Anadolu Agency]

As disagreements continue between Tunisia's president, parliament speaker and prime minister, a 9 June deadline to sign the draft law amending the law on the Constitutional Court has been missed.

The constitution grants the President Kais Saied four days to seal bills after their first or second ratification, in case of its referral to Parliament, or after receiving a response from the Constitutional Court, in which the Provisional Body for Constitutional Review of Bills fulfils part of its tasks pending approval.

The Provisional Body for Constitutional Review of Bills had informed Saied in writing of its position on the challenge to the bill amending the Law on the Constitutional Court on 3 June, confirming that it does not have the necessary expertise and jurisdiction to address this issue.

The conflict between the officials began in January when Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi dismissed five ministers, known to be close to the president, and assigned other officials to the vacant posts in the interim period.

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Saied accused Mechichi of "violating the provisions of the constitution", and refused to allow the new officials to swear their oath ahead of taking up their posts.

Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi said Saied does not have the power to refuse appointments after a vote of confidence was granted to them in Parliament, adding that his role is "symbolic".

Secretary General of the Democratic Current, Ghazi Al-Shawashi, warned in a statement to Arabic Post of the state of complete paralysis that afflicts the government and the country because of this conflict, stressing that " if the situation remains in its current shape, it will end in an unprecedented social explosion in view of the tension" that the Tunisian street is witnessing.

Al-Shawashi called on "the parties to the conflict to show a sense of responsibility and abandon political squabbles and intransigence, because the situation in the country can no longer tolerate more tension.

He called on the president to abide by his duties and play his role in bringing all the political parties together, and present solutions and initiatives to end the crisis.

He stressed that "the Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi and the parliamentary belt backing Mechichi's government had the most significant part in worsening the crisis by providing unconditional support to a failing government which have been incapable of finding solutions, other than escalating tension with the President of the Republic."

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