Tunisian Constitution of 2022

Article

August 15, 2022

The Tunisian Constitution of 2022 (2022 دستور تونس) was adopted on July 25, 2022 in a constitutional referendum. Supreme legal standard of the country, it constitutes the fourth Constitution of the modern history of the country after those of 1861, 1959 and 2014.

History

On July 25, 2021, Republic Day, after months of political crisis between the President of the Republic and Parliament, thousands of demonstrators demand the dissolution of the Assembly of People's Representatives and a change of regime. These gatherings come as the health crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic worsens. The same evening, invoking article 80 of the Constitution, Kaïs Saïed dismisses the Mechichi government with immediate effect, in particular Hichem Mechichi from his duties as head of government and acting interior minister, announces the suspension of Assembly—whose immunity he waives—the formation of a new government—which will be responsible to him—and his decision to govern by decree; he also indicates that he will preside over the prosecution. Ennahdha immediately denounced a "coup d'etat". This qualification of a coup d'etat is shared by political analysts and jurists. From January 15 to March 20, 2022, an electronic consultation takes place on the reforms to be proposed in anticipation of the referendum. During the ballot, which was the subject of a very low turnout, the option of a transition to a presidential regime prevailed. On June 1, 2022, a decree-law is signed, modifying the organic law relating to elections and referendums. The ISIE becomes responsible for maintaining a register of voters that is "accurate, transparent, complete and up-to-date" and that voters can consult to request an update of their registration. In addition, the ISIE must automatically register all non-registered voters by distributing them to the polling stations closest to their place of residence. It must also publish a list of participants in the referendum campaign following the filing of statements that the ISIE can afford to refuse with a reasoned decision. The date of the constitutional referendum is set for July 25, 2022, despite criticism from the opposition. The text must be published by June 30.

Content

At the beginning of June 2022, the jurist Sadok Belaïd, president of the advisory committee for drafting the new Constitution, indicated that he would submit the preliminary draft on June 15 to the Head of State, and that it did not contain any reference to Islam, contrary to the Constitutions of 1959 and 2014. This one is however ambiguous as to whether it deals with the country or the State. The text, unveiled on June 30, establishes a presidential regime and a bicameral parliament. The Assembly of People's Representatives is elected by universal suffrage, while the Assembly of Regions and Districts is elected indirectly by regional councils. Bills tabled by the President are given priority consideration. The president appoints the government without needing a vote of confidence from parliament. For a motion of censure to be adopted, it must be voted on by two-thirds of the members of the two chambers of Parliament together. Dual nationals can no longer be presidential candidates. The President of the Constitutional Court is in charge of the presidential interim. Deputies can be revoked and a deputy must not table a bill if he is a budget eater. The president also appoints the members of the Constitutional Court and Tunisia is described as a member of the “Islamic oumma” and the “State alone must work towards the realization of the aims of Islam”. On July 3, Belaïd announces that the t