Tunisian Constitutional Reform
- On July 25, 2021, Tunisian protesters took to the streets, calling for the removal of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and the halt of parliament. Their disapproval stemmed from a poor COVID-response, a collapsing healthcare system, and consequential economic problems, including high unemployment rates and fewer state services.
- That day, President Kais Saied responded by suspending parliament, as well as the immunity of parliamentary members, and removing the prime minister. Saied cited Article 80 of the Tunisian constitution to legally validate his decision making, which states: “The President of the Republic, in a state of imminent danger threatening the integrity of the country and the country’s security and independence, is entitled to take the measures necessitated by this exceptional situation.”
- On September 11, 2021, President Saied stated his desire and alleged ability to unilaterally amend the 2014 Tunisian constitution.
- On September 29, President Saied appointed Najla Bouden Romdhane, an engineer and geology professor, as the country’s new prime minister. However, Saied’s recent “rule by decree” leadership raises concerns regarding the authority the new prime minister will actually be granted and if the new government will be able to operate with independence.
New Developments and Upcoming Reform:
- President Kais Saied has begun the process of launching a constitutional reform campaign.
- From January 1 to 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.
- In June, Saied plans to select a committee of political and legal experts to be responsible for drafting Tunisia’s 2022 constitution.
- Saied scheduled an official constitutional referendum for July 25, 2022, exactly one year after he unilaterally suspended parliament.
- According to Saied, parliament will remain under suspension until Tunisians elect a new assembly on December 17, 2022.