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Extraordinary Measures Provoke Dispute between Tunisia’s Authorities

Extraordinary Measures Provoke Dispute between Tunisia’s Authorities

Friday, 27 March, 2020 - 12:00
Speaker Rached Ghannouchi speaks during an interview with at Reuters journalists in Tunis, Tunisia, April 25, 2018. Reuters file photo
Asharq Al-Awsat

A parliamentary session held on Thursday shed light on huge differences among Tunisia’s politicians as the country fights the spread of the coronavirus.

The session was attended by Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh and minsters of social affairs, finance, commerce and traditional industries, interior and health.

The dispute between the legislative and executive authorities reached its peak after some parties such as the Democratic Current expressed support for the prime minister’s initiative that enables him to issue emergency decrees without getting parliament’s approval.

On the other hand, Ennahda Movement backed parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi on the possibility of holding virtual sessions even if there was lack of quorum.

This led to tension among lawmakers, resulting in Democratic Current MP Samia Abbou tearing up a copy of the document that gives Ghannouchi extraordinary powers.

She accused Ghannouchi of “deceit,” saying he was fearing to lose power.

The lawmaker stressed that the bill included constitutional violations, accusing the parliament of steering clear of activating chapter 70 of the constitution, which grants the prime minister additional powers at the expense of the legislative authority, even if temporarily.

She stated that the Speaker deceived the deputies by putting the draft-law for approval without giving them time to study it.

The Democratic Current party, which is part of the ruling coalition, urged the activation of the constitution’s chapter 70 on condition of limiting it to the temporary measures linked to combating the COVID-19 disease.

In his opening speech, Ghannouchi said that the country is at war with an invisible enemy and called for joint efforts to fight it.

The current phase requires vision, unity and boldness, the Speaker added.

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