Expert Roundtables in Tunisia
Tunisia has experienced many challenges in the nascent stages of its transition into a democratic state following the revolution in 2011 which overthrew the Ben Ali regime. Many aspects of the 2014 Constitution were novel attempts at building a representative, diverse and inclusive form of governance and organisation of the political, legal and judicial system in the State. The Country has suffered substantial economic and governance challenges, due in part to a lack of consensus-based forms of governance and a relatively low level of consolidation of democratic principles in institutions of the State.
In 2021, following months of stalemate in Parliament and immense pressure resulting from the Covid-19 crisis, President Kais Saeid declared a state of exception in Tunisia in accordance with the President’s interpretation of Article 80 of the 2014 Constitution, arguing that there was an ‘imminent danger’ threatening the State and its institutions, and dismissed the Prime Minister. Shortly after, the President issued a Presidential Decree which ‘froze’ parliament, suspended specific parts of the Constitution and unilaterally gave the President and the Executive wider powers. Legal, political and governance Experts, political parties, unions and civil society activists have given varying responses to these developments.
The Max Planck Foundation Project ‘Expert Roundtables in Tunisia’ seeks to bring together influential academics and experts from a diverse range of legal, political and governance backgrounds to meet together to discuss technical options that could provide a way out of the state of exception and a return to normalcy. The project will invite leading Tunisian experts, those who support the steps taken by the President as well as those who have challenged the legitimacy of those decisions, to gather in a forum where they can discuss and challenge the various technical options that are available.
The Max Planck Foundation will facilitate a series of Roundtables in which experts from diverging viewpoints will be given the chance to present their technical options and to have those challenged by other experts and peers based on a scientific approach.
As an independent facilitator, the Max Planck Foundation will seek to enhance the discussions with technical and comparative inputs and to identify points of consensus that could be developed further as recommendations, as well as identifying points of disagreement, and highlight the practical effect of the technical options if implemented in a constitutional and legal framework based on the rule of law.
The Max Planck Foundation’s project is generously supported by the German Federal Foreign Office as part of its ‘Ta’ziz Partnership for Democracy’ Programme.
1 November 2021 – 31 December 2021