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Controversy in Tunisia over Calls to Abolish the Political System

Controversy in Tunisia over Calls to Abolish the Political System

Thursday, 28 May, 2020 - 09:00
Tunisia's new parliament members take an oath in Tunis, Tunisia November 13, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
Tunis - Mongi Saidani

A heated political debate is raging in Tunisia where many voices are calling for a change in the parliamentary system and returning to the presidential one, having in mind a new linguistic term in Tunisia’s politics: the so-called “third republic.”


Many believe that having a third republic is the only way to overcome the political and parliamentary deadlock witnessed by the country, but others claim that it is a gateway for sowing chaos and a plan to take over state institutions after some having failed in the 2019 elections.


Third republic supporters have been accused of looking to take out political opponents, especially the Ennahda Movement. Government coalition parties, on the other hand, believe that political change must be enacted through elections only.


They are calling for amending the election law which, after 2011, resulted in disarray among parliamentary blocs that were rendered unable to rule or achieve their election campaign promises.


Ennahda Movement is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the parliamentary system, as it dominates the government and occupies the position of the speaker of Parliament through the parliamentary system.


Issam Chebbi, the head of Tunisia's opposition Republican Party, said that the move to another presidential system needs years and a political, institutional and democratic evaluation, and cannot be achieved by chaos and taking to the streets.


Leftist parties such as Machrouu Tounes and the Free Destourian Party backed the ongoing protests and considered demonstrating as part and parcel of the democratic process. Should the ruling coalition oppose or ban those protests, it would be considered a hit to individual and collective rights.


These parties confirmed that they will back the protest expected to be held early June to call for dissolving the parliament and to withdraw confidence from its speaker, Rached al-Ghannouchi.


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