Tunisia’s party wants longer mandate for constituent assembly

October 31, 2011

The Congress for the Republic Party, a secular political formation that is emerging as one of the top three winners in Tunisia’s elections, has called for the extension of the term of the constituent assembly beyond the assigned one year.

The 217-member assembly, expected to convene in November, will write a new constitution, choose an interim president and caretaker prime minister, and prepare for the next national elections.

“Writing the constitution must be done carefully and one year is not enough to do it,” said Monsif Merzouki, the party secretary-general.

The party is tipped to have a major say in the coalition government that Al Nahda, the Islamist party that has dominated Sunday’s elections, will form.

“I expect the assembly to write its statute within one month during which the president and prime ministers will be named,” said Marzouki, one of the three people who could be asked to be the country’s next president. The other two are current interim prime minister Beji Said Essebsi and Mustafa Bin Jaafar, the secretary-general of Attakatol party.

Marzouki said that he would not tolerate any form of political hegemony and that his party remained committed to human rights.

“We will not accept any form of targeting democratic gains, from women’s rights to individual freedoms,” he said in reference to claims that Al Nahda would push a conservative agenda that would curb the rights of women, considered as the most advanced in the Arab world.

Al Nahda has repeatedly said that it would protect individual freedoms and would not seek to curb tourism, one of the most crucial sources of income for the North African country with its 1,200 kilometres of coast and beaches.

Official election results have not yet been released.





About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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