Legal Confusion Over Prime Minister’s Call for Technocratic Government

By Racha Haffar | Feb 7 2013 Share on Linkedin Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Share on pinterest Print

Tags: Chokri Belaid ,Constitution ,Ennahdha ,Jebali ,tnAc ,

Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali

Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali’s call Wednesday evening to form a government of non-political technocrats has sparked debate over whether or not the prime minister can take such action and if creating a new government would serve the needs of the country.

Jebali’s televised announcement followed the assassination Wednesday morning of opposition leader Chokri Belaid.

But Jebali’s ruling Ennahdha party rejected the prime minister’s decision Thursday, saying he had not consulted with the party first. In an official statement, the party said the government still requires people with political experience and should preserve the ruling Troà¯ka coalition.

During his speech Wednesday, Jebali assured Tunisians that a government of technocrats would allow change to happen faster. Negotiations have been ongoing for weeks concerning a cabinet reshuffle.

Jebali outlined a plan for a government that would include fewer ministers, with more specific duties, who were insulated from the political scene. He promised to make sure that a constitution will be ready as soon as possible and that presidential elections will take place sooner than anticipated.

Jebali said from his perspective the government didn’t fail, but just stopped functioning properly, which requires a fast intervention to create a more efficient body.

He said Tunisians should work together. “We are different but should unite in the love for this country,” Jebali said. “We will not kill each other just because of our differences.”

Amine Mahfoudh, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Sousse, said that even though the prime minister might not technically have the power to call for a new government, that it is the best option for the country at this point in time.

He said that this action might be the last chance to avoid popular demands for the dissolution of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), which would lead to a political crisis.

The repercussions of Ennahdha’s rejection of Jebali’s plan are serious and, in his opinion, include three possibilities: the resignation of Jebali from Ennahdha and the political scene; the creation of a new party by Jebali and his sympathizers within Ennahdha; or a popular demand to find a solution out of the NCA and a rejection of all the assembly’s decisions.

Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly

From Mahfoudh’s perspective, for Jebali’s plan to be legally accepted, he must first resign from his position, and this resignation must be accepted by the president. Then, the president would charge Jebali with forming a new government.

Samir Bettaieb, a NCA member from the Al Massar political party, said Jebali could suggest the plan to the NCA and then members could vote on it.

Fadhel Moussa, another member of Al Massar in the NCA and the dean of the Tunis Law School, said he believed Jebali’s plan would be beneficial for the country.

We need “to stop this political mess and achieve a better stable political scene,” he said. Tunisia must “not deviate from the democratic path we are working on.”

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    I was very surprised by the proposition by Jebali for a non-political cabinet. A cabinet that picks the best qualified and absolutly no politics and nepotism being involved would be a big step in the correct direction. However, not surprising the Hypocrite party of Ennadha would stop it, I won’t be surprised if Jebali gets assasinated or has a “heart attack”.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, at least Jbali proved to his people that Tunisia comes before everything else, only that dog of a leader is hungry for power and has now showed his true colour amongst his people, his party is now divided, it is only a matter of time before they will collapse, as for Jbali being assasinated, I wouldn;t think they would go that far, it will be their sure downfall more then it already is! let us hope for the best because for now, that is all we can do… Hope!

  1. This reminds me of when Ben Ali visited Bouazizi, Allah Yarhamou, in the hospital for what was a total photo opportunity for him, even though he was one of the big root causes. I think Jebali would do something like this, to take some of the heat off of him, when he could be part of the cause as well. Be careful and well informed in whatever is determined.

  2. Jebali is a true patriot and a man of courage and conviction. I pray that others like him in the Ennadha party will dare to go against the party line and show the world with actions (not words) that Islam and politics can go hand in hand. If more of them behaved like him, rather than in their own self interest, people on the other side of the political spectrum may believe it too and they would have a proper mandate.

    • For that you described the man to be a true patriot doesn’t reflect he’s a true patriot. I would careful say, a man who did a patriotic act. That’s more precise. And second, Islam can along with politics. I understand from your statement that Islam and politics are two things of the same scale, different in nature and due to specific circumstances can coexist or not. That’s false, at least from a Muslim’s point of view, yours truly. Well, Islam is bigger than politics is what should be said. Politics is a dirty game based upon the principles of common interest whereas Islam is the religion that deals with all aspects of life on the scale of the individual and the group. All aspects: economic, political… you name it. Now, that’s a big difference.

      • Sorry, politics is a noble business – Politics is the consensus between all citizens of a nation. It is a product of the enthusiasm, the dedication and the sacrifice of the militant. It is sad to see you confused and ignorant about this fact.
        The religion is noble and a guiding light, however the interpretation of Islam by obscure zealots like yourself, brings discord and chaos. The guidance or the shining path of Islam is spiked and poisoned by bigots. You should grow up and try assuming your responsibility as citizen of a enlightened nation.
        Islam without his believers will not exist, however citizens had happily existed without religion.

    • You are exactly right Noureddine. No one has the right to force religion on anyone, ever, under any circumstances. It has no business in politics and no one who thinks it does should ever be trusted in any way whatsoever.

  3. How pity. A call for a non-political cabinet would have not seen the light without a triggering event of such scale. We must admit that even if we don’t approve of blood shed, violence and murders, some of the greatest moments in history have been scripted with the blood of the people. Last but not least, I pray to Allah for that His Mercy descend upon the soul of this man. At all, he’s a Muslim.

  4. I hope tunisia can sort itself out politically.. People have suffered enough there for years. My fiancé is a police officer and hates corruption and violence, as does his family and friends. I hope tunisia makes the necessary changes while not tolerating these salafists who are bullying so many good people who should have the freedom to live as they choose. It’s a pity it took a tragic murder to instigate immediate change :(

  5. Whenever politics and religion are mixed, there is always instability, violence qnd poverty. Religion is mostly spiritual, politics is totally material. Basic human rights give include peoplemof all religions, race, skin colour, gender, etc. Without basic human rights there is no democracy.

  6. So, so, so sorry about Tunisia and Tunisian people… Last year I was almost convinced that I will be an UK expat in Tunisia and I will start a new life. After two weeks holiday I had felt that something was definitely wrong(especially after the visit in Al Kairouan and Al Munastir…). Too many bad eyes in my wife’s back and mine, especially that we are not the kind of people that don’t respect life of others or want trouble… Just wanted a juice with my wife in Al munastir and people were looking at us mean…there is a saying in my country( I’m a UK citizen that was born in Romania): Beautiful country too bad is populated… The translation is not very good but you might get the sense…
    Anyway, I really hope that a new revolution will get the peace and prosperity that the Tunisian people deserve!