New Tunisia constitution delayed

2012-08-14 19:56
Tunisian women shout slogans during a protest calling for the respect of women's rights and other fundamental rights in Tunis. (AFP)

Tunisian women shout slogans during a protest calling for the respect of women's rights and other fundamental rights in Tunis. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tunis - Tunisia's new constitution will not be adopted before February 2013, the head of the drafting committee said on Tuesday, after earlier announcing that it would be delayed until April.

"I believe that in all reality there can be no final reading of the constitution before February 2013," Habib Kheder, who is also an MP and member of the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, told Tunisian radio station Mosaique FM.

"There can be no hastening," he added.

Kheder had said on Monday that the final draft of the new national charter would be voted on in parliament "at the end of April".

The government had previously insisted it would meet an October deadline for ratifying the constitution, in order to hold planned general elections in March next year.

Kheder has declined to comment on whether he now expects the elections to take place on schedule, saying on Monday that was "the responsibility of the government".

But the new hitch to the democratic transition looks likely to compound the political uncertainties facing Tunisia, which has been rocked by social unrest in recent months, including strikes, protests and clashes with the police.

On Tuesday hundreds of protesters demonstrated against Tunisia's ruling Islamist party during a general strike in Sidi Bouzid, hub of the 2011 uprising, an AFP journalist reported.

Islamist tendencies

Opposition and civil society groups accuse Ennahda of increasingly authoritarian and Islamist tendencies.

They are also growing more critical of the government's failure to bolster the economy and improve living standards, 17 months after the revolution that overthrew veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and touched off the Arab Spring.

"Can the country handle another such delay? Can Tunisia's fragile economy withstand another delay?" asked opposition MP Issam Chebbi on Monday.

"We will demand a law that fixes a date for the elections," said the spokesperson for the Republican Party, when contacted by AFP, adding that "the longer the transition lasts, the more the chaos will spread."

Kheder said the commission would meet in early September to discuss a "comprehensive timetable" for drafting the new constitution, which has been heavily delayed due to an apparent deadlock over certain key issues.

The Islamists in the ruling coalition are pushing for a pure parliamentary system, while the other parties want important powers to remain in the hands of the president.

President Moncef Marzouki belongs to the secular centre-left Congress for the Republic, one of Ennahda's coalition partners.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    moncef marzouki  |  north africa publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Wallabies win, Boks to face Wales
LIVE: England 21-3 Uruguay
As it happened: Australia 15-6 Wales
Scots beat Samoa, end Japan's dream
Traffic Alerts

The phrase for today is:”Out of the blue.” Expect the unexpected and work with the changeable energy. Your intuition is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.