- Published on Monday, 30 July 2012 15:56
- Category: Letters From Tunisia
A few weeks ago, the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) hosted a national debate on the drafting of the country’s new constitution. The event was attended by many distinguished guests and speakers. Spread over two days, Friday and Saturday, the gathering featured five sessions on different topics pertaining to the Constitution. The goal of the Conference was not only to inform the Tunisian public about the specifics of the Constitution, but to bring the writers of the constitution and Tunisian citizens together and provide a forum in which they can discuss those specifics together.
Having been to many conferences in Tunisia during the post-revolution period, I can say with conviction that this Conference went extraordinarily well. The audience was calm and the tension that has animated this North African country during the past year gave way to hopeful and meaningful discourse.
The Conference was led by CSID President, Dr. Radwan Masmoudi, seen to the left giving his opening statements.
The Conference included many high profile Tunisian politicians from CPR (The Congress for the Republic), Ettakatol, and Ennahda (The three parties together form the Troika which currently holds a majority in the Constituent Assembly). Abou Yaarab Al Marzouki, Member of the Constituent Assembly, address the audience on what he feels are the biggest challenges in writing the Constitution.
Zied Krishan, Editor in Chief of Al Maghreb Magazine, gave an informative yet light-hearted speech.
A new panel of guest speakers arrived for every new session.
Members of the Audience were allowed, at the end of each session on Friday, to stand up and respond to what the speakers on the panel said, and so a direct connection between the Politicians writing the Constitution and the general public was established.
On Saturday, after the first session, the audience broke off into separate groups corresponding to the six specialized committees within the Constituent Assembly. The groups included: The Committee on the Preamble, The Committee on the Rights and Freedoms, The Committee on the Judiciary, Financial, Administrative, and Constitutional, The Committee on Regional and Local Groups, The Committee on Legislative and Executive branches and The Committee on Constitutional Bodies.
All but one committee was presided over by an actual Member of the Constituent Assembly. The participants went over their particular piece of the constitution and made small amendments, debating for a period of time and then voting on them.
The Committees then reconvened for one final session. The panel for this session included Meheriza Laabidi, the VP of the Constituent Assembly and subsequently the most powerful woman in Tunisia. Each committee chose a spokesperson to present their findings.
Meherzia Laabidi responds to point-by-point concerns presented by each committee over the Constitution.Submitted by Iman Masmoudi