The National Constituent Assembly (NCA) proposed last Friday a bill that would ban politicians, who were once affiliated with the former ruling RCD party that was overthrown on January 14, 2011, reported Mosaique FM.
The proposal, known as the ‘Protection of the Revolution’ bill, would forbid any politician, who served in the Rassemblement Constitutionnel Démocratique (RCD) party, from running for president and participating in political life.
The bill’s ban on former RCD members, in particular, has sparked controversy and pushed officials from the opposition Nidaa Tounes party to speak out.
Beji Caid Essebsi, who was an active politician in the former regimes of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and Habib Bourguiba, stated to international news agencies that this bill targets him in person and that the ruling Ennahdha party is seeking to eliminate him and others who may compete with Ennahdha in the next elections.
Ridha Belhaj, a Nidaa Tounes spokeperson, lambasted the bill, characterizing it as “contrary to the principles of international and domestic laws” and motivated by politics.
“It [the bill] is a collective punishment meant to eliminate all of Ennahdha’s competitors,” Belhaj asserted to Tunisia Live.
For Belhaj, the main objective of the bill is to “distract public opinion from essential issues such as electoral preparation and the end of the [NCA's] legitimacy.”
“It is not the job of the [NCA] to judge people and decide who deserves to participate in political life or not,” said Belhaj. “It is not a court.”
Najib Mrad, a NCA member affilated with Ennahdha, denied any bad will behind the bill. “The bill only targets those who abused their power during the old regime,” he said. “It is not meant to eliminate or wrong innocent politicians.”