Timeline: Tunisia’s Political Reform

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    Middle East Policy has been one of the world’s most cited publications on the region since its inception in 1982, and our Breaking Analysis series makes high-quality, diverse analysis available to a broader audience.

Policy Briefs Program

April 2022

Fast Facts

Tunisian Political Reform


July 25, 2021: Tunisian protesters took the streets, calling for the removal of the Prime Minister and the halt of parliament. Their disapproval stemmed from a poor COVID-19 response, a collapsing healthcare system and consequential economic decline, including high unemployment rates and fewer state services. 

President Kais Saied responded by suspending parliament and the immunity of parliamentary members. Saied also removed the Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior Hichem Mechichi. Saied legally validated his decision making by citing Article 80 of the Tunisian constitution, which allows the president to take additional measures if the country is “in a state of imminent danger.”


July 26, 2021: Saied removed Minister of Defense Ibrahim Bartagi and Acting Minister of Justice Hasna Ben Slimane. 


July 27 – 28, 2021: Saied dismissed more top officials as well as the CEO of Wataniya, Tunisia’s major national television channel. 


August – September, 2021: Saied continued to dismiss members of government. In some cases, such as that of Chawki Tabib, former anti-corruption committee head, Saied did not follow constitutional procedures. In this instance, Saied did not provide a copy of the justified order prior to placing Tabib under house arrest. 


September 11, 2021: Saied stated his desire and alleged ability to unilaterally amend the 2014 Tunisian constitution. 


September 29, 2021: Saied appointed Najla Bouden Romdhane, an engineer and geology professor, as the country’s new Prime Minister. 


October 11, 2021: Saied approved Romdhane’s new government selections, which include several familiar faces. Some include: Interior Minister Taoufik Charfeddine, previously interior minister; Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi, previously interim foreign minister; Finance Minister Sihem Boughdiri, previously interim finance minister; and Justice Minister Leila Jaffel, previously minister of state properties and land affairs under the Hichem Mechichi government. 


January 1- March 20, 2022: Tunisian citizens are being called to participate in the reform process by electronically submitting policy suggestions pertaining to political, economic, social and other constitutional policies. 


February 6, 2022:  President Saied dissolved the Supreme Judicial Council, referring to it as a “thing of the past.”


March 30, 2022: Saied announces that he is dissolving the country’s parliament. This move came shortly after parliament voted for a bill opposing Saied’s unilateral measures during a virtually-held session. 


April 1, 2022: Tunisian anti-terrorism police summoned over 30 opposition leaders such as Rached Ghannouchi of the Ennahdha party for questioning. 


April 22, 2022: Saied took control of Tunisia’s electoral commission, announcing plans to replace most of the current members. 


June 4, 2022: Tunisian demonstrators protested against Saied’s constitutional referendum, scheduled for July, as well as his dismissal of fifty-seven judges throughout the past week.


June 30, 2022: Tunisia’s draft constitution was released in the country’s official newspaper, the Gazette.


July 23, 2022: Hundreds gathered in Tunis to protest against a draft constitution, which grants the Tunisian President full executive control, including authority over the army and parliamentary appointments. 


July 25, 2022: Tunisians participated in the long-awaited constitutional referendum vote, scheduled one year after President Saied initially suspended parliament. The constitution draft would shift Tunisia’s government from a hybrid parliamentary system to a presidential system, in which the president holds the executive, legislative and judicial powers. 


July 26, 2022: Tunisian electoral commission head Farouk Bouasker announced that the new constitution was accepted. While 94.6% of votes supported the new constitution, this number was skewed due to a 30.5% voter turnout. 

September 8, 2022: Several Tunisian opposition parties, including Ennahdha, have announced their intent to boycott December’s parliamentary elections. Being that the elections will be administered by parties loyal to incumbent Saied, the opposition claimed that the elections will not be neutral.

September 20, 2022: Saied’s Anti-Terrorism squad detained former Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh on charges of sending jihadists to Syria. His lawyers called the investigation a “farce.”

September 26, 2022: President Kais Saied called on the government to limit imports of luxury items such as foreign perfumes, cosmetics, and animal food as Tunisia grapples with a shortage of necessary goods and foodstuffs. Unrest grows in Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, as protestors express anger at 9% inflation and food shortages, both results of Tunisia’s ongoing financial crisis.  

  • Middle East Policy

    Middle East Policy has been one of the world’s most cited publications on the region since its inception in 1982, and our Breaking Analysis series makes high-quality, diverse analysis available to a broader audience.

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