The Tunisian parliament approved, in a second reading, the draft law amending the Constitutional Court law, whose establishment has been suspended since 2015, in light of a dispute with the President of the Republic, Qais Saeed, over the constitutionality of the law.
Parliament deputies voted by an enhanced majority on the bill, more than 3-fifths of the required number, after a second reading of it, as Saeed had rejected the amendment approved by Parliament for the first time on March 25.
Parliament was able to pass the bill to amend the Constitutional Court Act, with the approval of 141 deputies and the registration of 10 reservations and 15 objectors.
Article 81 of the constitution stipulates the necessity of voting by a strengthened majority, that is, 3-fifths of the members of the House (131 votes) if the President of the Republic returns a bill to Parliament.
The Constitutional Court is among the main disagreements between the president and parliament, as they stand on opposite sides in interpreting the constitutional text on its status.
The Tunisian president had justified his rejection of these amendments, claiming that the deadlines for the formation of the Constitutional Court set by the constitution had passed for years, describing the amendments approved by Parliament as aiming at controlling the court and turning it into a means of settling political scores.
Tunisia’s new constitution – issued after the revolution in 2014 – stipulates the necessity to establish the court within a maximum period of one year from the date of the legislative elections that were held in that year.
The court consists of 12 members; A third is elected by Parliament, but only one member was elected, while the rest of the candidates failed to obtain the required majority. Advertising
Law and ambiguity
The amended law now allows for the two-thirds majority previously required to recommend candidates to be reduced to a three-fifths majority.
But it is not clear if the approval vote will end the crisis, and will prompt President Said to seal the law, because he had previously implicitly indicated that it was unconstitutional due to the breach of deadlines.
Said said a month ago, “The Representative Council (parliament), with such a position, has placed itself in an impossible constitutional position.”
The absence of the court has caused several previous legal and constitutional dilemmas, including the government reshuffle that has been suspended since last January, and the disagreement over the president’s leadership of the armed and security forces together.
The court decides on disputes relating to specialists in the presidency and the government, the continuation of states of emergency, and monitors draft amendments to the constitution, treaties and draft laws, laws, and the internal system of Parliament.