Following a meeting today between President Moncef Marzouki, Ennahdha founder Rached Ghannouchi, and other high level officials, there remains no consensus concerning the new government or the mechanisms for selecting a prime minister.
Maya Jribi, general secretary of Al Joumhouri, said haste is needed in order to extract Tunisia from its uncertain political situation and that politicians should focus on the country’s most pressing needs.
Ghannouchi insisted on the urgency of forming a new government this week. “The country needs a coalition government with more participants of the political parties,” he said.
Adnen Mansar, spokesperson of the president’s office, also pointed out that it is unclear who the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) would choose to become prime minister if Jebali does not return to his position.
Articles 15 and 19 in the temporary law governing public powers in Tunisia address methods for selecting a prime minister.
Legally, Jebali can return to his position, or he can be reassigned to form a new government, but this depends on the degree to which he is willing to compromise on his initiative for a nonpartisan, technocratic government.
According to Article 15, the president assigns the nominee of the party with the greatest number of seats in the NCA to form the government.
The difference between Articles 15 and 19 is that the first is mainly political, while the later is based on technocratic competencies, Slim Laghmani, professor of law and politics, told Tunisian radio Mosaique FM. In an assignment that would take place under Article 19, for example, the prime minister would be independent and unaffiliated with any political party.
Jebali’s commitment to a technocratic government would seemingly eliminate his appointment under Article 15, Laghmani said. The only way back into his position would be for Jebali to follow Article 19, he continued.
Foreign Affairs Minister Rafik Abdessalem brought up another dimension of the situation in an interview with Mosaique FM. He said that Article 15 demands the creation of a whole new government, which is not the case under Article 19.