Tunisian president wants debate on new political system and constitutional amendment

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Tunisian President Kais Saied and European Council President Charles Michel pose for the media ahead of their meeting at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, June 4, 2021. Francisco Seco / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo

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TUNIS, June 15 (Reuters) – Tunisian President Kais Saied on Tuesday called for dialogue with political parties on creating a new political system and amending the 2014 constitution, which he described as “with locks everywhere “, with the aim of alleviating political crises.

Saied’s comments could pave the way for an end to a months-long political stalemate with Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, who is backed by Speaker of Parliament Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, on powers and alliances policies.

Tunisia’s constitution, approved following the 2011 revolution, has been widely hailed as a modernist constitution. But many politicians admit that it includes many controversial chapters and needs to be amended.

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“Let us enter into a credible dialogue (…) prime ministers.

In April, Saied said his powers as commander of the armed forces also covered the internal security forces, not just the military, compounding his dispute with Mechichi. It also relied on a controversy over the interpretation of a constitutional chapter.

While Ennahda, the largest party in parliament, supports a full parliamentary system, Saied wants a presidential system. The current system is mixed, in which the president is elected directly, while most of the power rests with the prime minister, who is appointed by the ruling coalition.

Tunisia is the only Arab country to have successfully made a peaceful transition to democracy after the “Arab Spring” uprisings that swept through the region in 2011.

But the North African nation’s economy has been crippled by high debt and deteriorating public services, made worse by the global coronavirus pandemic.

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Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Dan Grebler

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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