Inaugural plenary session of Tunisia’s new parliament gets underway [Upd 1]

The inaugural plenary session of Tunisia’s new parliament got underway Monday. A freeze of the former assembly was announced by President Kais Saied on July 25, 2021, after invoking Article 80 of the constitution. The dissolution ensued under a presidential decree on March 30, 2022. The opening session was chaired by the oldest MP, Salah Mbarki (constituency of Keberia), assisted by the youngest two deputies, Syrine Boussandal (constituency of Zarzouna, Bizerte) and Ghassen Yamoun (constituency of Djerba, Houmt Essouk) as set out in Article 2 of the presidntial decree convening new parliament members. “Working within a participatory approach and in harmony with the executive is one of the main tasks” of the freshly elected MPs as part of the national duty, said Salah Mbarki in an opening speech. A two-round system was used in conformity with the provisions of the new constitution and the election law amended under Decree No. 55 of September 15, 2022. Voters, who used to pick a list, voted for a single candidate. The inaugural session is being held at the call of the President of the Republic under Decree n°221 of March 8, 2023, which provides for summoning members of the House of People’s Representatives to attend its inagural plenary as spelled out in Article 71 of Tunisia’s new charter. Under the decree, the chair of the inaugural session or one of the assistants shall read the final list of MPs released by the Independent High Authority for Elections (French: ISIE). Then, the new deputies take oath. The chairperson will afterwards announce the opening of filing for the positions of speaker and deputy speakers before applications are submitted to vote, as stipulated in Article 6. The election will take place by secret ballot and with the absolute majority of votes. In the event of no candidate obtaining an absolute majority, the chairperson will opt for a second round involving the two candidates who obtained most votes. In the case of a tie, the oldest candidate will be elected. The chair of the inaugural session shall announce the name of the candidates who will hold the offices of speaker and deputy speakers and adjourn the session. Then, works will resume under the chairmanship of the parliament’s newly elected speaker, assisted by the two deputy speakers. The speaker shall invite the assembly to set up a committee in charge of rules of procedures and announce the opening of applications for membership. Applications will be announced before they are submitted to a vote of the absolute majority. The speaker shall invite members of the commission to meet immediately after the plenary session and adjourn the meeting.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP)