Opposition politicians have accused the parliamentary committee charged with drafting the constitution of modifying articles related to strikes and freedom of expression without having the authority to do so.
A final draft of the constitution was produced by the Joint Committee for Coordination and Drafting (JCCD) April 23.
Salma Baccar, an opposition member in the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) and vice president of the Committee on Rights and Freedom, told Tunisian radio Express FM that the JCCD had changed at least five or six articles.
Baccar called this an abuse of power and said that, according to the NCA’s internal regulations, the JCCD only has the right to make stylistic, not substantive, changes to the constitution.
Nadia Ben Chaabane, an NCA oppostion member affiliated with the Al Massar party, told Tunisia Live that Article 33, which concerns the right to organize a strike, has been changed.
Ben Chaaben said that the article places limitations and conditions on the right to strike.
“For example, protestors should not damage public equipment during the strike and also the strike should ensure the continuity of public facilities,” she said. “This means that this article will oblige all public facilities to continue working during the strike.”
Baccar added that modifications to Article 40 place restrictions on freedom of expression.
JCCD member Abdelmajid Najjar told Tunisia Live that the committee has the right to amend articles and the committee’s changes were not unlawful.
Addressing the complaints of opposition members, he remarked, “satisfying people is an end that cannot be achieved.”