Creating new perspectives since 2009

Tunisia: president says he's going to change the election law

September 21, 2021 at 3:48 pm

Kais Saied, Tunisia’s president in Brussels, Belgium on 4 June 2021 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu/Bloomberg/Getty Images]

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied said on Monday that he is going to introduce a new election law and that he has drawn up transitional laws while emergency measures remain in place.

“Transitional provisions have been put in place, and a prime minister will be appointed, and they will be transitional provisions that respond to your will,” he explained in an address to the people of Tunisia. “A new draft electoral law will be drawn up.”

Saied insisted that what he proposes is “at the heart of the constitution” and his critics “cannot say” that it is a coup. “How can it be a coup when it is done via the constitution and the text of the constitution?”

Is Tunisia slipping into a dangerous pitfall?- Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Is Tunisia slipping into a dangerous pitfall?- Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Tunisians have been waiting for weeks for Saied’s decision regarding the suspension of parliament and the current constitution amid expectations of political reforms involving the system of governance. The president has the right to impose “emergency measures” only if there is an “imminent danger” to the state. That is what he cited when he took such steps in July.

Now, the transitional laws that President Saied referred to in his speech suggest a possible repeal of the current constitution. Opposition parties, especially Ennahda Movement, reject any changes to the 2014 constitution. The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) has demanded dialogue before any changes are introduced.

Saied did not present anything new today but pledged to reveal the facts and not take any retrograde steps. He said that he has to act with discretion at this time. Reiterating that “sovereignty is for the people” he made veiled accusations about his opponents sowing discord after last Saturday’s protests against his special measures.

READ: EU calls for ‘preserving democracy in Tunisia’