A new constitution should save the Tunisian revolution. It is thus causing a real counter-revolution.
Tunisia is in deep crisis. The Tunisian economy has yet to recover from the fallout from the 2007 financial crisis. During the pandemic, important sectors of the economy such as tourism have collapsed.
The Tunisian dinar is weakening and life is increasing more and more for the population. Food became scarce in many regions of the country: flour, sugar, wheat, rice and oil.
Economic reforms will be necessary – the state will have to fight corruption that undermines all spheres of the state and the economy. But politics is a dead end, and the politicians are dealing with themselves and not really solving the problems.
A year ago, President Kais Saied declared a state of emergency. He sacked the government, suspended parliament, and ruled by decree since then.
Constitution to strengthen the power of the president
With a new constitution, Saeed now wants to make the emergency system the norm. All powers should be concentrated in the president. Parliament weakness.
In the future, supervisory powers will be appointed by the president – and even members of the Constitutional Court. This makes the supreme supervisory authority in the state subordinate to the president.
Said says the revolutionary process has been hampered by stalemate in parliament and corruption at all levels. His new constitution wants to bring the revolution forward.
In reality, however, he is setting a new path. The new constitution creates a concentration of power in one person, as Tunisia was known before the revolution. It does not take a big step towards authoritarian rule.
Saied blames Ennahda for violations
The president says he wants to overthrow the Islamic Renaissance Movement. It is the only party that has played an important role in the government without interruption since the revolution.
Therefore, Said gives her the main responsibility for the violations in Tunisia. They have infiltrated society, business and administration through the web of corruption.
Even if Said Ennahda is pushing Ennahda out of the political game: on social and political issues, he represents ideas similar to those of Islamists. The text, which will be voted on in Tunisia on Monday, re-declares that the goals of Islam are the broad outlines of the state.
This basically means Islamic law that Ennahda has always wanted. After the revolution they failed with this demand in the Constituent Assembly due to the resistance of the liberals.
Only after lengthy negotiations did the warring parties agree to compromises: the 2014 constitution proclaimed freedom of belief and equal rights for women and men. This is in line with what Tunisia has been doing since independence. Islam is the official state religion. But in fact there is a clear separation between religion and state.
President Said now wants to change that: his constitution actually means a counter-revolution for Tunisia.
“Typical entrepreneur. Lifelong beer expert. Hipster-friendly internet buff. Analyst. Social media enthusiast.”