Need to improve control mechanisms for financing of political parties (Conference)

Participants at a conference on Friday on controlling the financing of political parties in Tunisia stressed the need to improve mechanisms for monitoring the funds allocated to political parties in view of the threats now hanging over Tunisia’s fledgling democracy.

Chawki Tabib, president of the National Anti-Corruption Authority (INLUCC), warned against the “lebanisation” of the political reality if current legislation and Decree-Law No. 2011-87 of September 24, 2011, on the organisation of political parties is maintained.

The current legal framework is incomplete, he said, assuming that the control of political party funding is the responsibility of the media, civil society, the judiciary and the Independent High Authority for the Election (ISIE).

“Several indicators show that Tunisia is experiencing a proxy war, waged by regional parties outside the country, as clearly demonstrated by the situation in parliament,” he deplored.

“But the greatest responsibility lies with the government and the parties essentially,” he said.

According to Tabib, the main beneficiaries of Decree-Law No. 87 are the political parties, of which there are 224, which explains their refusal to activate or improve the current text in order to maintain the vagueness of their sources of funding.

Concerning the controversy surrounding the possible involvement of Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh, in a case of conflict of interest, the President of the INLUCC recalled that the legislature had given the body the task of monitoring this type of situation and transferring the cases to the Justice Department. Moreover, article 90 of the Constitution, which is, in the hierarchy of norms, superior to Act No. 2018-46 on the declaration of assets and interests, the fight against illicit enrichment and conflict of interest in the public sector, prohibits the Prime Minister or any other member of the Government from holding any other office.

For his part, Abdessalem Grissiaâ, first president of the Administrative Tribunal, referred to Article 26 of Decree-Law No. 87 which requires the submission of reports on the control of party financing to a commission headed by the first president of the Administrative Tribunal and with the participation of the first president of the Court of Appeal of Tunis and the president of the Order of Chartered Accountants of Tunisia. He pointed out that article 26 does not, however, include implementing texts or material means governing the work of the commission.

For his part, Mourad Mahjoubi, head of the general direction of associations and political parties, considered that among the main shortcomings of the decree law n°87 is the non application of the public financing component mentioned in article 21 of the said decree.

He stressed that “the new draft law, which meets international standards (Venice Commission), will guarantee public funding for all political parties throughout the year”.

The new draft law, the examination of which started in 2018, had been the subject of 5 consultations with the political parties, but was never submitted to the House of People’s Representatives.

Organised by the Kawakibi Centre for Democratic Transitions, in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Rights and Relations with Constitutional Authorities and Civil Society, this conference aims to identify the weak points and difficulties faced by the monitoring structures.

Arab Observer

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