Political party Hizb Ettahrir criticized Tunisia’s democratic transition and the current constitutional draft at a public meeting in Gabès on Sunday, January 6.
Formerly outlawed in Tunisia, Hizb Ettahrir gained legal recognition by the Ennahdha-led government and calls for the return of the Caliphate by political means.
The public gathering on Sunday centered on ways to ensure the “legislative and doctrinal safety of the Ummah (the Muslim community)” in the political landscape, according to the meeting’s official title.
“A well-constructed ideological motive behind the constitution is more important than the constitution itself,” Hizb Ettahrir spokesperson Ridha Belhaj stated on Tunisian radio Mosaique FM. “Yet, this motive is alienated.”
In a separate interview with Tunisia Live, Belhaj criticized the constitutional draft for all of its concessions and compromises and considered it undesirable by Muslims.
“Our Ummah (the Muslim community) is not a panhandler and wants Islamic law,” he said.
Sunday’s meeting is to be followed by a sit-in, organized by Hizb Ettahrir this Friday, before the National Constituent Assembly (NCA).
Protesters at the sit-in – titled “Is there a god other than Allah?” – will decry the absence of any reference to Shariaa law in the drafting of the constitution and the NCA members’ disregard for the Ummah’s will, according to Belhaj.
He stressed that the current situation does not reflect the aims of the revolution.
“NCA members are reproducing the old regime. Therefore, it is impossible for the constitution to have superior legitimacy,” Belhaj explained.
The sit-in seeks to exonerate those in attendance from the faults in the current constitution before God, he stated.
In the media, Hizb Ettahrir has previously challenged NCA members to a public debate and intends to address the three highest-level politicians – Moncef Marzouki, Hamadi Jebali, and Mustapha Ben Jaafar – in an open letter criticizing the political transition.
Belhaj expects “milestone” results at Friday’s sit-in before the NCA in terms of “symbolism” rather than participation. The sit-in will inaugurate a caravan, undertaken by Hizb Ettahrir members, which will travel across the country to promote the party’s own constitution.