Tunisian Central Bank President Fired
Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly voted to dismiss the country’s Central Bank President Mustapha Kamel Nabli in a vote of 110 to 62, with 10 abstentions. The move came after weeks of disagreement between the bank, the president, and the prime minister, and many assembly members justified the decision as a way to restore cooperation among the three. Nabli, who in the past has been celebrated for his competency, criticized the action as undermining the independence of the Central Bank. “The choice is obvious. It is either preserving the Central Bank as an independent institution removed from all these controversies or submitting it to political considerations that may contradict with the public interest,” Nabli said in a press conference.
Additionally, a military court in Tunis sentenced in absentia ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to life in prison for “complicity in murder” for the deaths of 43 protesters during the Tunisian revolution last year. Forty other former regime officials were also tried, of whom 19 were convicted, including General Ali Seriati who received a 20 year sentence, and former Interior Minister Rafik Belhaj Kacem who received 15. Families of victims, however, reacted negatively to sentences many considered too lenient. Prior to the life sentence, Ben Ali had already received 66 years in prison for “embezzlement, illegal possession of weapons and narcotics, housing fraud and abuse of power” in three other trials.
Also, Daniel Loehr reports on the ongoing debate within the Constituent Assembly over outside assistance in the drafting of Tunisia’s constitution. Among Constituent Assembly members, there has been a mixed reaction to input from human rights groups and international organizations over issues such as the death penalty and the legal status of blasphemy. Some members see international actors as trying to hijack the process to assert international norms over what they see as domestic values.