No Sharia’a Law in the New Tunisian Constitution
A performance by Tunisian Association for Drama Arts was was interrupted when members of the Salafi movement disrupted the cultural events and damaged equipment in the main theater of the city on Bourguiba Avenue. The protests lead by the radicals group gathered thousands of Tunisian who call for the implementation of an Islamic law.
In this environment of rising tensions between liberals and conservatives in Tunisia, Ennahda, the Tunisian ruling party, asserted today its will to preserve a secular state. Ziad Doulatli, an Ennahda party leader said that the first article of the Constitution drafted in 1959 will not be modified. The article declares ”Tunisia is a free, sovereign and independent state, whose religion is Islam, language is Arabic and has a republican regime,” but never mentions Islamic law to be the source of legislation. Ennahda believes that this decision to be an answer to the increasing divisions in Tunisia. Zoubair Chhoudi, spokesperson of the party said “we felt it incumbent upon us to undertake an action that will unite Tunisians – not further divide them. The recognition of Tunisia as an Arab-Muslim state is more than enough to reinforce the country’s identity.” This decision may alienate Ennahda’s most conservative supporters . Hechmi Haamdi leader of the Islamist movement Al-Arydha stated (Fr) ”This sudden position is a betray against those who voted for this party [Ennahda] and denies the principles of this Islamist movement.”
Meanwhile, the Tunisian government announced that the next parliament elections would be in March 2013. The new Assembly would replace the current Tunisian Constitution Assembly. Lutfi Zaitoun, political adviser to Prime Minister Hamadi Jbeli of the moderate Islamist party Ennahda stated ”March 20 of next year has been suggested. It is not a final date 100 percent, and could happen weeks earlier if we finish drafting the constitution.”
Reporters Without Borders (RWB) stated (Fr) that the Office Director of Al-Jazeera in Tunisia, Lotfi Hajji, was insulted and harrassed while he was about to cover a political meeting featuring leaders of secular and left parties. RWB called for the justice to open an investigation against those who perpetrated the acts of violence. Moreover, RWB recalled that the recent Tunisian legislation protect the physical well-being of the journalists working inside the country.