Constituent Assembly of Tunisia
|National Constituent Assembly
المجلس الوطني التأسيسي
al-Majlis al-Waṭanī at-Ta’sīsī
|Founded||22 November 2011|
|President||Mustapha Ben Jafar, Ettakatol
Since 22 November 2011
|First Vice-president||Meherzia Labidi Maïza, Ennahda|
|Second Vice-president||Larbi Ben Salah Abid, CPR|
|Voting system||Party-list proportional representation|
|Last election||23 October 2011|
The Constituent Assembly of Tunisia, or National Constituent Assembly (NCA), is the body in charge of devising a new Tunisian constitution for the era after the fall of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD)–regime. Convoked after the election on 23 October 2011, the convention consists of 217 lawmakers representing Tunisians living both in the country and abroad. A plurality of members comes from the moderate Islamist Ennahda Movement. The Assembly held its first meeting on 22 November 2011. 65 members of the opposition withdrew from the assembly by 28 July 2013. The opposition members have come back and are attending meetings, but they refuse to vote or attend committee sessions. Members of Ettakatol, which is part of the government, have also withdrawn from the assembly.
Before the first session of the NCA, Ennahda, Congress for the Republic (CPR) and Ettakatol agreed to share the three highest posts in state. Accordingly, the parliament voted Mustapha Ben Jafar (Ettakatol) speaker of the NCA upon being convoked on 22 November. Meherzia Labidi (Ennahda) and Larbi Abid (CPR) were elected vice presidents.
Provisional constitution and presidential election
On 10 December 2011, the assembly adopted a provisional constitution (Law on the provisional organisation of public powers) According to articles VIII and IX of the document, the requirements for the eligibility as president are exclusive Tunisian nationality (excluding citizens with dual nationality), having Tunisian parentage, religious affiliation to Islam, and an age of 35 years or more. 141 delegates approved of the law, 37 voted against, and 39 abstained.
On 12 December 2011, the NCA elected the human rights activist and CPR leader Moncef Marzouki as the interim President of the Tunisian Republic. 153 delegates voted for him, three against, and 44 votes were blank. Blank votes were the result of a boycott from the opposition parties, who disagreed with the new "mini-constitution".
On 14 December, one day after his accession to office, Marzouki appointed Hamadi Jebali, the secretary-general of the Ennahda Movement as Prime Minister. Jebali presented his government on 20 December, and officially took office on 24 December.
|Candidacy of Moncef Marzouki of the Congress for the Republic|
Constitution drafting process
The actual process of drafting the new constitution started on 13 February 2012. The assembly established six committees, each in charge of one of the individual themes of the constitution. The first commissions is responsible for the preamble and the general principles and amendments. Each of the committees consists of 22 lawmakers and mirrors the strength of the political groups in the assembly proportionally. The most crucial question will be the one of the form of government. While the Islamist Ennahda movement favours a parliamentary system, its secular coalition partners CPR and Ettakatol, as well as most of the minor oppositional parties prefer a semi-presidential republic.
The party standings as of the election and as of December 11, 2013 were as follows:
21 November 2013
|Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties||20||11|
|Call for Tunisia||-||11|
|Democratic Alliance Party||-||10|
|Progressive Democratic Party||16||–|
|Congress for the Republic||29||17|
|Social Democratic Path3||-||7|
|Tunisian Workers' Communist Party||3|
|Movement of Socialist Democrats||2|
|Free Patriotic Union||1|
|Democratic Patriots' Movement||1|
|Maghrebin Liberal Party||1|
|Democratic Social Nation Party||1|
|New Destour Party||1|
|Progressive Struggle Party||1|
|Equity and Equality Party||1|
|Cultural Unionist Nation Party||1|
Note: 1Part of the Democratic Group.
- 2Previously a part of CPR.
- 3Composed of former members of Democratic Modernist Pole.
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