TUNIS -

Parties loyal to President Kais Saied considered the controversy surrounding the accusation of the head of the Consultative Committee for the Drafting of the Constitution, Sadiq Belaid, for Saïd of perverting the spirit of the first draft of the constitution as a "storm in a teacup."

Meanwhile, opposition parties warned of the danger of the draft constitution, which the president is preparing to pass through a referendum.

In a surprising move, Sadiq Belaid, nicknamed in Tunisia, Abi al-Dassatir, published today, Sunday, the first draft of the constitution that he submitted on June 20 to the president in his capacity as head of the advisory body for the drafting of the constitution.

Belaid said the president had introduced "modifications" that involve serious risks and pitfalls into the final draft of the constitution.

In his conclusions about the final draft constitution that Saïd drafted, Belaid confirmed, in statements to the daily Al-Sabah newspaper, that the draft obliterated and distorted the Tunisian identity and consecrated wide powers in the hands of the president, and kept the 80th article of the 2014 constitution, which gives him exceptional and broad powers that he alone approves as he adopted in his procedures Extraordinary Day on July 25, 2021.

Sadiq Belaid accused President Kais Saied of altering the first draft of the constitution in favor of expanding its powers (Tunisian press)

Belaid reservations

Belaid also accused the Tunisian president of altering the first draft of the constitution, and by including other provisions that deny the president's political responsibility and establish a suspicious and ambiguous regional and regional system that portends bad consequences in the future, weakening the powers and independence of the Constitutional Court, and the absence of the economic, social, environmental and cultural dimension.

A comparison between the first draft of the constitution and the final draft that the president published to the people on June 30 to see it before voting yes or no on it in the referendum scheduled for the 25th of this month, shows several differences in the spirit of the text, although the two bills approved the presidential system, instead of the amended parliamentary system. As it was in the 2014 constitution, which the president suspended.

Ibrahim Bouderbala, Dean of Lawyers and Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Economic and Social Affairs, one of the committees supervising the writing of the draft constitution, acknowledges that the president made modifications to the draft constitution, assuring Al Jazeera Net that he canceled the previous (introduction) to the first draft and abandoned the economic and social aspect.


different premise

While the preamble to the first draft relied on brevity to review a set of basic general values ​​and principles of the Republic of Tunisia, the preamble to the final draft of the constitution was characterized by “legal chatter and redundancy in recounting the background to the president’s announcement of his exceptional measures on July 25, 2021,” according to legal experts.

Among other changes, Bouderbala says, the president introduced changes to the composition and powers of the Constitutional Court and to the legislative branch;

The first draft provided for the direct election of a House of Representatives, while the final draft provided for two parliamentary chambers (the House of People's Representatives and the National Council for Regions and Regions).

Bouderbala said, "In the first draft of the constitution, we proposed creating an economic, social and environmental council in the regions to consult it obligatory by the government or the House of Representatives on draft laws related to economic, social and environmental affairs, but the National Council of Regions and Regions was replaced by it."

The final draft of the constitution stipulated the distribution of the legislative function between a first parliament called the Assembly of People's Representatives and a second new parliament called the National Council for Regions and Regions.

The Secretary-General of the People's Movement, Zuhair Maghzawi, described the controversy over the modification of the draft constitution as sterile (Al-Jazeera)

'sterile debate'

Commenting on the debate on the changes between the first draft and the final draft of the constitution, the Secretary-General of the People's Movement, Zouhair Maghzaoui, considered this debate "sterile and misplaced", explaining that the head of the Consultative Body for the Drafting of the Constitution, Sadiq Belaid, knew from the beginning that he would supervise an advisory committee only and that The last word will be given to President Kais Saied.

Al-Magzawi told Al-Jazeera Net that the updated decree of the Consultative Body for the Drafting of the Constitution stipulated that its president, Sadiq Belaid, submit the draft constitution to the president and not to the people, and also stipulated that the president had the right to present his perceptions and proposals and to revise the work he received from the advisory body.

Maghzawi considered that there is confusion in the referendum on the draft constitution, and said that the essence of this confusion is the existence of a state of panic among "Francophone currents" that express their positions on issues related to the civil state and identity.

Expressing his encouragement to his party to participate in the referendum and vote in favor of the draft constitution despite some shortcomings (disadvantages).

He continued, "There are reservations about the draft constitution, but today we have only two options: either we present these reservations and work to reform them through the revision of the constitution in the future, or we open the country to the unknown and return to the old system that destroyed the country during the past decade."


laugh on chins

On the other hand, the leader of the Ennahda movement, Sami Al-Tariqi, considered the criticisms leveled by the head of the Consultative Body for the Drafting of the Constitution, Sadiq Belaid, for the draft constitution of Kais Saied, "just lamenting about the outcome of his work after the president disregarded everything that the advisory committees presented."

Al-Tariqi, in an interview with Al-Jazeera Net, held Sadiq Belaid responsible for his participation in what he considered a coup d'etat against the country's legitimate constitutional institutions, noting that he was about to shed the bitterness of not adopting the draft constitution that he presented to the president on June 20.

The Ennahda official warned against entering the country into a more dangerous slide than can be expected due to the president's insistence on continuing his "revolutionary path," noting that his draft constitution was prepared in advance, and that assigning sham advisory committees to draft a constitution was just a play and laughter.

He stressed that his party is still initially sticking to a boycott of the referendum for not conferring any legitimacy on it, but he said that a final position of the Ennahda movement will be issued successively after assessing the events and their interactions.

He considered that the referendum was challenged in its legitimacy and integrity, especially after interfering with the judiciary and the composition of the electoral commission.

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