Tunisia president hints at amending constitution

Tunisian president hints at constitutional amendment, says government will be announced soon
2 min read
12 September, 2021
During a surprise visit to a main boulevard in the capital hours after a man died by setting himself ablaze, Tunisian President Kais Saied lashed out at his opponents for not respecting the constitution.
President Kais Saied hinted at constitutional amendments [Getty]

Tunisian President Kais Saied hinted on Saturday at the possibility of amending the country’s constitution and said that a new government would be announced "as soon as possible."

"I will work on forming a government as soon as possible... There was a session (to discuss new) member of the government earlier today, and the search continues for people who are trustworthy," Saied told media during an unannounced visit on Saturday evening to the capital’s Habib Bourguiba Street.

Saied insisted that he respected the constitution and will continue to respect it, but did not rule out introducing some amendments "within a legal framework."

He lashed out at his opponents without naming them, as he said the constitution – adopted in 2014 following the 2011 revolution which ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali - was largely disrespected.

"We respect the constitution, but they have to respect the morals, values ​​and laws they put in place, which they wore like sandals to walk over the bodies of Tunisians. We come (here) by night and by day, because we fear nothing but God, and their conspiracies, plots and betrayals will not succeed."

Saied’s visit to the Tunis thoroughfare came after a man set himself on fire earlier on Saturday and died in hospital, days after another burned himself alive to protest living conditions.

The Tunisian president seized powers in late July as he dismissed the prime minister and dissolved parliament. A crackdown began shortly after which saw officials and journalists arrested.

His Islamist opponents, namely the Ennahda party, have labeled the sudden intervention a coup, but he has claimed the moves were necessary to save the country from collapse.

He said his intervention was in line with the constitution and necessitated by a national emergency due to political paralysis, high Covid-19 rates and protests.