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Tunisia’s Parliament Suggests Limiting PM Powers

Tunisia’s Parliament Suggests Limiting PM Powers

Sunday, 29 March, 2020 - 12:00
Tunisia's Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh speaks during a handover ceremony in Tunis, Tunisia February 28, 2020. (Reuters)
Tunis- Al Mongi Al Saidani

The Tunisian parliament’s internal system committee has held its first remote meeting with government representatives.

Participants discussed a bill to expand the powers of Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh that allows him to “temporarily” ratify laws and issue emergency decrees without resorting to parliament.

The government delegation included ministers of justice, finance, health, social affairs, state property, and minister for relations with parliament, as well as the legal advisor to the government.

Committee members listened during the discussions to the opinions of two experts in legal and constitutional issues regarding the content of Article 70 of the constitution.

Fakhfakh had earlier requested that parliament to “delegate its legislative powers to him for a period of two months” in line with this article.

The committee, however, refused to give the PM “carte blanche” to issue decrees during this period.

The committee, which held on Saturday its meeting remotely for the second day in a row, stressed that the exceptional circumstances Tunisia is going through “require granting the PM authorization to issue some decrees.”

It said this shall ensure the speedy and effectiveness of taking the necessary measures. Yet, it affirmed that this authorization shall neither be absolute nor include all sectors and fields, as stipulated by the government’s bill.

The bill also includes some of the points in Article 65 of the Constitution, related to facing the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring the normal functioning of the country's vital facilities and a maximum response from the executive authority.

The committee pointed out that most of the points mentioned “have nothing to do with the new coronavirus outbreak and the necessary and urgent measures that shall be taken to face it and prevent its spread.”

Committee members suggested limiting the PM’s power of authorization to the health, security, social and environmental sectors, which are directly related to facing the virus.

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