Tunisia’s president rejects parliamentary bid to establish constitutional court

Tunisia’s president rejects parliamentary bid to establish court, attacks motives
2 min read
07 April, 2021
The constitution adopted during the country’s democratic transition in 2011 outlines the need for a constitutional court to be set up within a year.
President Kais Saied also accused parliamentarians of using the matter to 'settle scores'. [Getty]

Tunisia's president said on Tuesday he is against efforts by the country's parliament to create a constitutional court.

President Kais Saied also accused parliamentarians of using the matter to "settle scores", after a prolonged deadlock between himself and Prime Minister Hichem El Mechichi has stalled Tunisia's political arena, according to Reuters.

The constitution adopted during the country’s democratic transition in 2011 outlines the need for a constitutional court to be set up within a year.

“After more than five years, after a deep sleep, they’ve remembered about the Constitutional Court ... I will not accept a court formed to settle accounts,” Saied said on Tuesday.

“They have missed the deadlines ... Anyone wanting me to violate the constitution is looking for a mirage.”

The comments came after Mechichi’s ally, Parliamentary Speaker Rached Ghannouchi, attempted a new bid to end the deadlock by establishing the court, but politicians have long clashed over the nomination of the 12 judges that should preside over this body.

Read more: How poverty and corruption are pushing Tunisia's disenfranchised youth back to the streets

This is the latest confrontation in a long-running conflict between the Tunisian premier and the president that began in January this year, when Mechichi announced a cabinet reshuffle without consulting Saied.

In turn, Saied refused to approve the reshuffle as it led to the sacking of ministers close to him, especially interior minister Taoufik Charefddine.

These divisions started after the 2019 general elections which resulted in a fragmented parliament, which brought Saied into power as he was considered a politically neutral candidate for the job.

Tunisia is dealing with the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, which have destroyed its economy and worsened its deficit to more than 11% last year.

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