Tunisia opposition walks out of talks

2013-07-01 21:45
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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

Tunis - Dozens of opposition deputies walked out of Tunisia's constitutional assembly on Monday to protest against the final draft of a new post-Arab Spring constitution.

The cradle of the pro-democracy uprisings that wracked the Middle East and North Africa in 2011, Tunisia has been closely watched as it works its way through a democratic transition marred by economic crisis, violence and the struggle between Islamists and secularists over the nation's identity.

The walkout by opposition deputies singing the national anthem forced parliament speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar to close the session shortly after opening it.

Opposition deputy Nadia Chaabane accused the ruling moderate Islamist party of altering the final draft of the constitution written by the assembly's committees, prompting the walkout.

The constitutional assembly has been writing the nation's new charter since it was elected in October 2011, taking eight months longer than its allotted year as the nation's economy has suffered, provoking further social unrest.

The assembly and the government is dominated by the moderate Islamist Ennahda Party that was severely repressed by Ben Ali and now rules in coalition with two secular parties.

The opposition accuses Ennahda of trying to write a constitution that would increase the religious character of society, and the draft has already been modified three times in debates over references to Islam, the role of women and guarantees for personal freedoms.

The debate over each article of the constitution is expected to last for much of the rest of the summer, including the holy month of Ramadan, set to begin in about a week.

If the document does not pass with two thirds support of the assembly - which would mean with some opposition backing - it will go to a public referendum.

Elections for a permanent parliament, and therefore government, were to be held in July but have been postponed to the end of 2013.

They are widely expected to be further delayed to spring 2014.

Read more on:    north africa

Join the conversation!

24.com 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.

24.com 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

Traffic Alerts
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 24.com 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.