Tunisian president hints he will scrap the 2014 constitution

Tunisian President Kais Saied

Tunisian President Kais Saied said Monday he would announce “new measures” in the coming hours, hinting he plans to scrap the 2014 constitution and put forward an alternative document for referendum.

Saied on July 25 sacked the government, suspended parliament and seized a string of powers as the north African country wallowed in political and economic crises compounded by the coronavirus pandemic.

He later moved to rule by decree and suspended parts of the constitution.

On Monday, he told ministers that “a series of measures will be announced in the coming hours today or tomorrow, for recourse to the sovereignty of the people”.

After a string of similar hints in recent days, he said that constitutions are “not eternal”.

“The people exercises its sovereignty in the framework of the constitution,” Saied said.

“So if it’s not possible for the sovereign people to practise its rights in the framework of a text, then there needs to be a new text.”

The 2014 constitution, which put in place a hybrid presidential-parliamentary system, was seen as a compromise between powerful Islamist-inspired party Ennahdha and its secular rivals.

But many Tunisians see the political system it created as having failed, creating corruption and endless blockages without resolving deep social and economic problems.

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