Tunisian President Kais Saied made exceptional arrangements on Wednesday that strengthen presidential power to the detriment of the government and Parliament, which he will de facto replace by legislating by decree.
These provisions, which tend to presidentialize the hybrid government system provided for by the 2014 Constitution, were the subject of a series of decrees published in the Official newspaper.
“Legislative texts will be promulgated in the form of a decree signed by the President of the Republic”, states one of the articles.
Another article states that “the president exercises executive power with the help of a council of ministers chaired by a head of government”. “The President of the Republic chairs the Council of Ministers and can mandate the head of government to replace him”, adds another article.
In the system initially in place, most of the executive power was in the hands of the government, and the measures announced by Mr. Saied clearly tip the balance in the side of the presidency.
On July 25, Saied assumed full powers by dismissing the government and suspending Parliament. He had extended these measures on August 24 “until further notice”.
Many Tunisians welcomed these measures with enthusiasm because, exasperated by their political class, they said they expected strong acts against corruption and impunity in a country in serious social and economic difficulties. But opponents, political parties, magistrates and lawyers had said they feared an “authoritarian drift”.
In a decree on Wednesday, Saied announced the continued freezing of Parliament and the promulgation of “exceptional measures” for “the exercise of legislative power” and “the exercise of executive power”, which are the subject of two chapters of the Constitution now suspended de facto.
To underline the transitory nature of these decisions, the presidential decree adds that Mr. Saied “undertakes the preparation of draft amendments relating to political reforms with the assistance of a commission which will be organized by presidential decree”.
On Monday, from Sidi Bouzid, cradle of the Tunisian revolution of 2011, President Saied announced the maintenance of the exceptional measures of July 25. He announced the forthcoming appointment of a new head of government, “but on the basis of transitional measures responding to the will of the people”.
The “presidential decree” posted on the presidency’s Facebook page indicates “continue to suspend all powers of the House of Representatives, lift parliamentary immunity from all its members and end the privileges granted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives”. representatives and its members ”.
On September 12, Saied spoke of a reform of the 2014 Constitution, seen as an unstable hybrid between parliamentary and presidential regimes. “The Constitutions are not eternal. “