Monday 26 July 2021
Books – Muhammad Ataya:
Tunisian President Kais Saied took several “exceptional” decisions, in the wake of the demonstrations that started today in protest against the living conditions in the country.
In a televised speech, after a meeting with the Chief of Staff of the Tunisian Army, the Tunisian president said that Prime Minister Hisham Al-Mashishi will be relieved of his post, freezing the work and powers of Parliament for a period of 30 days, and lifting the immunity of all members of the House of Representatives.
Saeed confirmed that the President of the Republic will assume the executive authority with the help of a government headed by a Prime Minister and appointed by the President of the Republic.
The Tunisian president confirmed that he took these measures under Article 80 of the Tunisian constitution, after an emergency meeting at the Carthage Palace.
According to the Tunisian president, this chapter in the country’s constitution allows him to take exceptional measures after consulting the speaker of parliament and the head of government.
Article 80 included in the first section of Chapter Four relating to the powers of the President of the Republic in Tunisia states that the President of Tunisia, in the event of an imminent danger threatening the nation’s entity, the country’s security, or its independence, makes it impossible for the normal functioning of the state’s wheels to take the measures necessitated by that exceptional situation. This is after consulting the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the Assembly of the People’s Representatives and informing the President of the Constitutional Court, and the measures are announced in a statement to the people.
These measures must aim to ensure the return to the normal functioning of the state’s wheels as soon as possible, and the Assembly of the People’s Representatives is considered to be in permanent session throughout this period. In this case, the President of the Republic may not dissolve the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, nor may a motion of censure against the government be submitted.
30 days after the entry into force of these measures, and at any time thereafter, the Constitutional Court, at the request of the Speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People or thirty of its members, is entrusted with a decision on the continuation of the exceptional situation or not. The court declares its decision publicly within a maximum period of fifteen days.
The work of such measures shall be terminated when the causes thereof cease to exist. The President of the Republic shall issue a statement to the people.
A coup against the revolution?
The Speaker of Parliament and the head of the Tunisian Ennahda Movement, Rached Ghannouchi, believes that the president’s recent decisions are a “coup against the constitution and the revolution,” as he described it.
He claimed that the decisions had no legal basis, and “a coup against the revolution and the constitution.”
He added, “The elected democratic state institutions are considered in place, and all other institutions, and we consider the interpretation made by the president to be wrong and clashing with the truth, because it is an exaggeration that relies on some articles that authorize the president to take exceptional measures, but we consider what happened to be a coup against the constitution.”
He added that “the constitution is in a state of emergency itself, which requires that the House of Representatives be in permanent session, and the president acted with logic that believes in some and does not believe in others.”
He continued, “The procedures are invalid and the House of Representatives is in session, and in a permanent session in a state of emergency,” calling for a reversal of “wrong decisions,” saying that “the revolution will return to Tunisia.”
He called on the Tunisian people to what he described as “peaceful support for the revolution.”
Member of the Tunisian Parliament, Hatem Al-Maliki, said that the decisions announced by President Kais Saied fall within the framework of activating Chapter 80 of the constitution.
He added, in statements to the Russian Sputnik agency, that “Chapter 80 gives the right to the President of the Republic, in the event of an imminent danger, to take exceptional measures.”
He stressed that what happened today in Tunisia requires the intervention of the President of the Republic to preserve the unity, security and stability of the state.
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