Tunisian President Qais Said, who shut down the government and parliament in the country, has now announced his decision to amend the constitution. He stated this, speaking on state television, transfers Reuters. The Tunisian Constitution, which is also Said’s brainchild, was adopted only seven years ago.
According to Kais Said, he is preparing to amend the Basic Law, but will do so only using the existing constitutional means. He added that he respects the democratic constitution of 2014, but it is not eternal and can be changed.
“The amendments made must comply with the Constitution,” said the Tunisian president.
The country’s political leaders have shown dissatisfaction with the Constitution since its adoption in 2014. They called for it to be changed under the pretext of forming a presidential or parliamentary republic.
The legal mechanism for amending the Constitution is currently not working due to the actions of the President himself. Article 144 of the Tunisian Constitution states that an amendment to it can only be put to a referendum if it has already been approved by two-thirds of the members of parliament.
However, on July 25, the former professor of constitutional law Qays Said stripped Prime Minister Hisham al-Meshishi of his powers and froze work and deprived the parliament of immunity. The decision was taken amid protests in the country related to the state of the Tunisian economy and the spread of the coronavirus.
“I made a decision that I had to take a few months ago: freezing all functions of the parliament. The country’s constitution does not allow dissolving parliament, but does not prohibit freezing its activities, ”the president said at the time.
Speaker of the Tunisian parliament formed in 2019, leader of the Islamist party “An-Nahda” Rashid Ghannushi said that he considers the president’s actions a coup against the revolution and the Constitution.
A month later, Qais Said did not appoint a new government, but only extended his emergency powers.
The president’s actions are causing concern in Western countries. This week, G7 officials urged Said to return to “a constitutional order in which an elected parliament plays a significant role as soon as possible.”
Qais Said was educated at the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the University of Tunis, the International Academy of Constitutional Law and the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo. Then he taught at universities, and also became president of the Tunisian Center for Constitutional Law for Democracy.
After the 2011 revolution, Said joined the expert committee to draft a new constitution. He is widely known for his numerous radio and television appearances as an expert in constitutional law.
In 2019, Qais Said won the second round of the presidential election, receiving more than 72% of the vote with a turnout of 55%. In the first round, almost 19% of voters voted for him. Even before he was elected president, Said received the nickname “Robocop” because of his specific facial expressions and diction (in 2013, a video featuring Said, who remained completely calm when an earthquake began during filming in a television studio, went viral).