Tunisia’s Saied issues decree strengthening presidential powers
Tunisian President Kais Saied took exceptional measures on Wednesday that strengthen the powers of his office at the expense of the government and parliament, which he will effectively replace with rule by decree.
The provisions, laid out in a series of articles published in the official gazette, come almost two months after his initial power grab.
Under the current system most of the executive power was in the hands of the government, and the measures announced by Saied clearly tip the balance in favour of the presidency.
"Legislative texts will be promulgated in the form of decrees signed by the President of the Republic," one of the articles stipulates.
A second article says that "the President shall exercise executive power with the help of a Council of Ministers chaired by a Head of Government".
"The President of the Republic presides over the Council of Ministers and may mandate the Head of Government to replace him/her," says another.
Saied, a political outsider, came to power in 2019 on a wave of public outrage against political parties widely seen as corrupt and self-serving.
An austere legal academic, the 63-year-old president has shown little inclination to negotiation or compromise, even in the midst of the country's social and health crises.
On July 25, Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament, removed lawmakers' immunity and put himself in charge of the prosecution.
Saied has since renewed the measures, and has not responded to calls for a roadmap for lifting them.
While many Tunisians have welcomed his moves to strip MPs of their immunity, some worry his powers could easily go too far, with a suspended parliament unable to rein him in.