New Tunisian Parliament Begins its First Session

Tunisia’s new parliament, elected in December and January in a vote with a turnout of 11%, sat for the first time on Monday, the first plenary session of the new Assembly of People’s Representatives, the lower house elected in two rounds on 17 December 2022 and 29 January 2023, will be held today in Tunisia.

The new legislative forum will replace the previous Parliament dissolved on 30 March 2022, eight months later the freezing of works ordered on 25 July 2021 by the President of the Republic, Kais Saied.

The inaugural plenary session of the new Assembly will be chaired by the most senior MP, with the assistance of the youngest, until the election of the new president.

Meanwhile, according to journalist Tarek Amara, “for the first time since the 2011 revolution, local and international journalists are banned from attending the opening ceremony of the new parliament”, since “only state television is authorized to cover the event”.

For his part, President Saied said that anyone who believes they are still under the 2014 constitution “is out of the story.” According to the Tunisian head of state, the representatives of the parliament, whose first session will be held today, “will be able to make decisions after being elected according to the individual voting system”, instead of the system based on party lists. Saied also underlined that the country’s public institutions will not be neglected, in light of the difficulties they face, emphasizing instead that “whoever corrupts will be responsible for him” and that “there is no going back from such responsibilities”.

In February, the head of the electoral commission Farouk Bouasker announced that 154 candidates will win the legislative elections held in two rounds in Tunisia, including 25 women.

The official voter turnout in Sunday’s general elections on January 29 was 11,40 percent, while the first round on December 17 saw a turnout of 11,2 percent.

The inauguration of the new lower house of Parliament is one of the main stages in the roadmap outlined by the head of state following the “extraordinary measures” issued on 25 July 2021.

The president’s goal is to create a “new Republic”, after years characterized by corruption and economic and social crisis.

Not only. In recent days, Saied signed a decree on the dissolution of municipal councils, announced the revision of the law on the election of their members and the drafting of a law on the appointment of the members of the future “Assembly of the Regions”, the upper house of parliament of Tunisia.

After Saied’s announcement of the “dissolution of all municipal councils in the country and their replacement by special delegations”, Tunisia has effectively entered a new transitional phase.

The measure affects about 350 mayors and municipal councils, whose mandate would have expired at the end of April.

Most of them are political figures who emerged from the 2011 “revolution”, elected in 2018 above all from the ranks of the liberal Nidaa Tounes party and the Islamic movement Ennahda, which is currently Saied’s main target.

Furthermore, the 2022 constitutional referendum provides for the formation of a parliament with rather reduced prerogatives and consisting of two chambers, the Assembly of People’s Representatives (lower house) and the Assembly of Regions (upper house). The latter, therefore, should be made up of representatives of the municipal councils.




Arab Observer

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