On Thursday 15 September, the Official Journal of the European Union publishes Decree 55-2022 amending Basic Law 16-2014 regarding elections and referenda.
In Hans Kelsen’s theory of norm hierarchy, a decree cannot modify a law. But we’re not there anymore. Since the coup on 25 July 2021, everything has become possible. This Decree 55 did not change the 2014 law, it worsened and perverted it.
The political-media class realized this immediately and cried foul. But this class has become totally inaudible. Tunisians have become deaf to any kind of sensible warning and now listen only to the president and his entourage of obligees and courtiers. An Ahmed Chaftar is more credible than an Abdelkefi, and a Néjib Dziri is more convincing than a Zyed Krichen. Keep partying and insulting your intellectuals the harder fall gets.
Decree 55 was drafted solely by the President of the Republic and by him alone. He sent a copy to the members of the Independent High Authority for Elections (Isie), but he did not even give them time to read it and make their comments. The next day he had the decree published in Jort. Worse, the copy he sent them is different from the published one.
What every average political observer has been predicting since September 15 has finally happened. The new electoral law is difficult to apply and opens the way for fraud.
On October 6, Isie issues a press release to indicate that some legislative candidates have attempted to defraud to obtain sponsorships by using public resources or by offering financial or material compensation to purchase sponsorships.
Isie clarified that the public prosecutor approved the initiation of an investigation and placed the suspects in police custody.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. In the past few days we have only heard about the prices of sponsorships and the involvement of the town hall agents in this brand new traffic. Never seen.
Angry, Kaïs Saïed summons his head of government the next day to discuss the case of manipulation of sponsorships. In this regard, the Head of State emphasized the need to apply the law equally to all and put an end to this phenomenon of questionable money, especially when it was found that many of the members of the local councils were not in accordance with the role they were given assigned.
The President of the Republic reaffirmed that if the current legislation does not achieve its objectives, the sacred national duty requires its amendment to put an end to this reprehensible phenomenon.
And to add that the purpose of the behavior of those arrested and prosecuted, as clarified by the investigations, was to create unrest and anarchy among the citizens, because they fear the judgment of the ballot box on election day. scheduled for December 17, 2022. Really?
At no point did Kaïs Saïed admit that the game we are observing is his fault and his fault alone.
At no time did he say to himself that if there is this merry-go-round, it is because he put the electoral law all alone in his corner without consulting anyone.
At no time had he foreseen the trip.
However, it must be remembered that it is imperative for any politician to have this sense of expectation. of forecasts. It’s a rule! If you can’t foresee, you can’t be a politician, you can’t be a manager, you can’t even run a grocery store.
Kaïs Saïed does not recognize his mistakes, Kaïs Saïed is stubborn, Kaïs Saïed does not know how to foresee. Any politician would tell you, only one of these mistakes is fatal to a man (or a woman). What if we combine the three!
We are not there anymore. The course of events means that Kaïs Saïed will now change (all by himself) the electoral law, which he himself wrote three weeks earlier.
What is happening with the electoral law has already happened with the constitution. Kaïs Saïed wrote it entirely himself, so he had to revise it after publication in Jort. And the revision, in turn, contained new errors.
Politicians and observers immediately cried foul. Be quiet, you are inaudible ladies and gentlemen! The people don’t recognize you, they only recognize Kaïs Saïed, and they only listen to Ahmed Chaftar, Ridha Lénine, Néjib Dziri, Kamel Fekih and Riadh Jrad. Good for him!
Let’s be pragmatic and constructive. The Electoral Act is, as it is, inapplicable. Impossible for a candidate to collect the 400 legalized sponsorships. It is unconstitutional as it prohibits dual nationals from applying in Tunisia and does not guarantee equality between men and women. The future assembly is likely to be overwhelmingly male, if not entirely male. It is a highway for smugglers and the wealthy and prohibits party attendance.
Instead of continuing on this path, which weakens state institutions day by day, I invite Kaïs Saïed to be consistent in his policy.
Technically, we live under a dictatorship, that’s a fact. Although the media is (still) free, the rest of the state institutions function identically to North Korea, China or Nicaragua.
Let Kaïs Saïed behave like any dictator and appoint the 161 members of the assembly himself. Let him choose them according to his wishes. Let him appoint them as he appointed Najla Bouden and his ministers.
Why make all this theater and impose all this merry-go-round? Why waste time and money? Why mobilize town halls and Isie?
Since the July 25 coup, Kaïs Saïed has done what he wants with the state, the institutions, the constitution and the laws.
The interior and defense ministries are at his command, the judges are on his heels, Isie has become a mop and Jort has become a kind of school notebook in which he writes what happens to him.
We are no longer close to a detail. Let him directly appoint the deputies ready to sell their souls and let it be over. He would save time and money, and he would be less subject to ridicule.
Either way, it won’t last long. Shortages, rationing and the absence of any kind of visibility on the future will end up pushing “great tunisian people” to complain and expel him from the palace of Carthage, as they did with his predecessors.
You can fool everyone once, you can fool a few people all the time, but you can’t fool everyone all the time.