In a statement released on Monday, September 6th, some political parties and media outlets called for limiting the duration of the Constituent Assembly’s mission to 6 months. This is to be achieved via a referendum that will be voted on the same day, October 23rd, that Tunisians are voting in the members of the Constituent Assembly.
According to the statement, after drafting the Constitution, it will become a body responsible for monitoring the performance of the provisional government and preparing for presidential and legislative elections, all of which should be completed in a period that does not exceed six months. This is to ensure that the Constituent Assembly’s role is strictly defined and that it is not in a position to become a legislative body in any future Tunisian government.
These politicians and media outlets also claim that provisional government institutions should aid in the preparation of the presidential election in order to avoid deterioration of the Tunisian economy and national security. The country is fragile and will not survive other experiments.
Mohsen Marzouk, independent political activist , said that this call encompasses around 50 political parties including the Socialist Left Party (PSG) the Democratic Progressive Party (PDP) and 47 other parties that have joined this republican alliance. Several national organizations and hundreds of prominent figures like Sheikh Abdelfattah Mourou and the lawyer Sadok Belaid have also voice support.
Marzouk has also denied that the initiative is serving the interests of any specific political party. All parties supporting the appeal will meet, Sunday, September 11, in cultural and sports center in El Menzah 6, to officially launch this initiative, he announced.
Maya Jribi, Secretary General of PDP, who previously came out in favor of the referendum, also stressed the commitment of her party to the current date of elections in order to “avoid any setbacks resulting from a weak central authority, like strikes and violence”.
Other parties came out against the referendum, stating that the Constituent Assembly will be the only legitimate governmental body in the country. Hamma Hammami, president of the Communist Workers Party (PCOT) disagreed with the initiative and announced that “this call for a referendum alongside the election of the Constituent Assembly is unreasonable.”
Yadh Ben Achour, President of the High Authority for the Achievement of Revolutionary Objectives, believes that voting on a referendum on the same day as voting in members of the Constituent Assembly will needlessly complicate the electoral process. He suggested the implementation of a series of dialogues between groups to discuss the role of the Constituent Assembly instead of a referendum taking place on election day.
Opinions are several and divergent. Some see in this initiative an opportunity to empower the democratic transition while others consider it as a expansion to an illegitimate and unelected body – the interim government.
Source: La Presse, Le Quotidien, Assabah