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Tunisian Parliament Holds Session to End Dispute with Government

Tunisian Parliament Holds Session to End Dispute with Government

Saturday, 4 April, 2020 - 06:45
Tunisian parliament (File photo: Reuters)
Tunis - Mongi Saidani

The Tunisian parliament held a session via videoconference to discuss disagreements with the government on granting Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh extraordinary powers during the coronavirus outbreak.

The meeting, which brought together the heads of parliamentary blocs and cabinet members, resulted in an agreement on some amendments to the draft-law, which was discussed by a parliamentary committee.

These changes include extending the mandate given to Fakhfakh for two months, and removing the clause on monitoring the constitutionality of decrees by a commission set up for that purpose.

The new deal will enable the government to pass 13 decrees without parliamentary approval. They include economic and social measures that the government has announced as part of a rescue plan at a total cost of DT2.5 billion to aid more than 250,000 needy families, and 630,000 families living under the poverty line.

Meanwhile, Minister of State Property Ghazi Chaouachi announced that the government’s Confiscated Property Committee decided to sell 15 different properties and real estate owned by symbols of the regime of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, including radio channel Shams FM and media group Dar Al-Sabah.

Chaouachi said that all seized properties will be sold to help boost the state treasury amid the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fakhfakh said in a television interview that people “misunderstood” President Kais Saied’s statement on the businessmen’s contribution to the state’s efforts to limit the economic impact of the virus outbreak.

He said that Saied at no time called for seizing the funds of businessmen or their institutions. Rather, he hoped that the state would not have to resort to unilateral measures.

The PM announced that the government needs about DT2.8 billion to face the repercussions of the crisis, calling on companies to support the efforts of the state. He asserted that the government’s call for assistance is a “request, not a threat.”

Fakhfakh stressed that Tunisia "has the necessary means to deal with all possible disaster scenarios" through proactive plans.

A number of opposition politicians have criticized Saied for warning he would launch war on some businessmen affiliated with the regime of Ben Ali.

In his statement, the President listed a number of them being involved in graft.

Government sources estimated that around 400 Tunisian businessmen have been involved in suspicious financial transactions amounting to more than DT10 billion.

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