The political crisis in Tunisia did not leave its place after the prime minister chose to pass hard and go with his ministers to gain the confidence of Parliament, ignoring the President of the Republic’s refusal of all those suspected of corruption to take the constitutional oath before him, which opened the door to scenarios that reached the point of threatening to dismiss the president.
He refused to write to Parliament
Parliament approved by a comfortable majority during a plenary session on Tuesday evening a cabinet reshuffle made by Prime Minister Hisham Al-Meshishi that included 11 ministerial portfolios, while the Speaker of Parliament sent an official letter to the Presidency of the Republic including the list of new ministers in order to invite them to perform the constitutional Yemen.
In the first indication that may predict the deepening of the crisis, President Qais Saeed asked the Presidency of Parliament to change the date of ratification of the ministerial amendment included in the correspondence of his President Rashid Ghannouchi from 26 to 27 January, under the pretext that the session ended on that date, according to what a source confirmed Close to the Speaker of Parliament for Al Jazeera Net.
The same source pointed out that the Parliament Speaker’s office is currently studying the reservations contained in the correspondence of the President of the Republic and the assumptions for responding to it, stressing that the date of the end of the session and the timing of granting confidence actually ended on the 26th and not the 27th.
The President of the Republic criticized during his presidency of the meeting of the National Security Council the ministerial reshuffle in the Mechanized government, describing it as unconstitutional, and that there is no room for any new minister to swear an oath before him if suspicions of corruption are attached to him.
Presumptions of impeachment
The representative of “Heart of Tunisia”, Ayyad al-Loumi, hinted at the hypothesis that the parliament would impose the dismissal of the president of the republic if he clung to his position and refused to take the new ministers to the constitutional oath before him, considering that this amounts to a “serious mistake” for this procedure in accordance with the requirements of Article 88 of the constitution.
This chapter stipulates that “the majority of the members of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People may initiate a justified list to exempt the President of the Republic for serious breach of the constitution, and the parliament approves it by a two-thirds majority of its members.”
In this case, according to the same chapter, the referral to the Constitutional Court for a decision is made by a two-thirds majority of its members, and the Constitutional Court cannot rule in the form of conviction except with dismissal.
This does not exempt him from the penal consequences when necessary, and the impeachment ruling shall result in him losing the right to run for any other elections.
In his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Al-Loumi confirmed that the proposal he presented does not reflect a personal position on the part of the President, but rather it was made by senior professors of constitutional law in Tunisia, such as Ayyad bin Ashour, Mona Karim and Kamal bin Masoud.
He stressed that the absence of the Constitutional Court does not constitute an obstacle to proceeding with the procedures for removing the president if the crisis reaches its end and disrupts the functioning of the government, pointing out that a two-thirds majority in Parliament is sufficient to take any action against the President of the Republic.
In the same context, he pointed out that the passage of some of the Presbyterian ministers during the session gave them confidence with a total of 144 deputies, an important indication of the ease with which a two-thirds majority would be available in Parliament to take any measure that Parliament deems appropriate to not disrupt the sovereign institutions.
He continued, “I call upon the prime minister, if the president of the republic refuses to take the constitutional oath before him, to appoint ministers for the prosecution until the problem is legally resolved by going to the administrative court or any other legal body.”
On the other hand, al-Lumi urged the President of the Republic to overcome differences, open channels of dialogue with Parliament and the Presidency of the Government, and not to disrupt the work of ministers in light of a political, economic and epidemic crisis.
The absence of one of the pillars of isolation
For his part, the leader of the Ennahda Movement, Muhammad al-Qoumani, described the prevention of ministers approved by the Assembly of the Representatives of the People from taking the constitutional oath as an attempt to pressure the decisions of the legislative institution, calling on the President of the Republic not to be satisfied with the accusations and to extend the parliament to what would condemn the new ministers.
Al-Qoumani told Al-Jazeera Net that the parliament voted with a comfortable majority on the ministerial reshuffle that follows it regarding any action taken by parliament, especially with regard to establishing the Constitutional Court and what is required for the country’s interest.
Regarding the hint of some parliamentarians to go towards the removal of the President of the Republic, the representative of the Ennahda Movement considered that the matter is no more than a constitutional hypothesis, but he ruled out resorting to it in the absence of the Constitutional Court, according to him.
He continued, “Ministers can assume their duties even if they do not take the oath, regardless of the position of the President of the Republic.”
Al-Qoumani called on the three presidencies to be rational and purify the political atmosphere, and to spare the country a constitutional and political crisis that joins the economic, social and epidemic crises afflicting the country and the people.
None of you will win … and Tunisia is the loser. My position on the dangerous turning point that our country is going through: 1 / With regard to the Security Council’s contents …
Posted by Mouna Kraïem Dridi on Tuesday, January 26, 2021
The theory of impossible actions
It is noteworthy that the professor of constitutional law, Ayyad bin Ashour, had assured local media that it is possible for the President of the Republic to stick to his stance rejecting the adoption of the “theory of impossible actions” in order not to disrupt the functioning of the state’s wheels.
He said, “In this case, the government issues a declaration confirming that the President of the Republic has refused to invite ministers to take the constitutional oath, and is waiting for a reasonable time limit. Then this theory will be applied. The ministers proceed to perform their duties without taking the constitutional oath.”
For his part, Professor of Constitutional Law, Amin Mahfouz, confirmed to Al-Jazeera Net that it is not possible in any way for parliament to dismiss the president of the republic even if there is a two-thirds majority in parliament, in the absence of the constitutional court.
He pointed out that the impeachment obligations stipulated in Article 88 of the Constitution related to the grave mistake committed by the President of the Republic, no party can assess them except the Constitutional Court, and no one else is qualified for that, according to his discretion.