Tunisia’s Former President of the Constituent Assembly Mustapha Ben Jafar argued that transfering legislative powers temporarily to Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh, according to Chapter 70 of the constitution, is a “legal political measure imposed by the exceptional stage that the country and the world are going through.”
Ben Jafar said the step was equal to President Kais Saied’s usage of Chapter 80 which considers the country in a dangerous state that requires exceptional measures.
In an interview with Asharq al-Awsat, Ben Jafar expected the political parties that opposed this measure to change their position and accept the comprehensive rescue and intervention plan announced by the government and supported by the president and speaker.
He also indicated that the current stage amid the coronavirus pandemic requires the government to pass laws and decisions even if they contradict with the popular opinion.
In 2011, interim President Fouad Mebazaa declared a state of emergency that enabled him to run the country through decrees and orders, he noted.
Ben Jafar downplayed the political repercussions reported in the Tunisian and international media about deep differences between the three presidents.
He indicated that the disagreements between Saied, Fakhfakh, and Speaker Rached Ghannouchi are secondary and merely procedural over some powers.
Ben Jafar said statements by officials close to the three presidents confirm their keenness over joint work, especially during this stage where the country and the world are facing health risks and signs of economic, social, political, and security crises.
For his part, Ben Jafar acknowledged the existence of “an issue of confidence” between some politicians, especially that the majority of citizens are now disappointed given that the reforms demanded by the youth of the revolution 10 years ago have not been implemented.
Asked about the government of Fakhfakh, Ben Jafar considered that the cabinet is the most democratic in the contemporary history of Tunisia because it includes well-known human rights and democracy figures.
He admitted that a large segment of the people, especially its youth, do not trust the authorities because of their lack of participation in public affairs and political life.
Ben Jafar expected coordination between the three presidents to improve immediately after the coronavirus pandemic has subsided, especially that everyone had discovered the efficacy of the latest decisions including lockdown, closing cafes, clubs, mosques, and airports.