ATG: Public Governance in Tunisia: Principles, Status, and Prospects

Association Tunisienne de Gouvernance (ATG)
November 2013

For a full text copy of the report, click here. To view this report in French, click here.

Following the regime change in Tunisia which profoundly impacted the political scene, the new ruling elite set on remaking the system of government. The dynamics of institutional reconstruction engaged, unfortunately in undue haste, were expected not only to change the nature of political relationships in Tunisia toward establishing a true democracy, but also to initiate a new approach to the management of public affairs based on good governance.

The current report, in its political section examines the constitutional process that Tunisia has been going through since January 14, 2011, by identifying the failures which have made this process controversial. It is, in fact, an attempt to measure the extent to which the successive governments have adopted the different criteria of good governance each time a decision regarding the future of Tunisia is taken. The respect of the rule of law entails accountability of the government whose political responsibility has meaning only if it establishes the principle of the equality of all before the law. It is by strengthening these fundamental rules of democracy that the sustainability of the institutions is ensured and the foundations of a just society are laid.

The first transitional period (the one before the elections of October 23rd, 2011) created an institutional vacuum by suspending the constitution, and dissolving parliament, the Economic and Social Council and the Constitutional Council. This vacuum could not be filled after the elections of October 23rd by the National Constituent Assembly. The provisions of the Law on the Organization of Public Powers (December 16th 2012) were not respected. The successive transitional governments, for lack of transparency, did not allow the ongoing constitutional process to evolve in the right direction, leading to a lack of synergy between the National Constituent Assembly, the government and civil society. This situation was at the origin of the inefficiency of public action and the dissatisfaction of the population. This hesitancy in the management of public affairs has particularly hurt the Tunisian public finances since the Tunisian economy is no longer in a position to meet the requirements of growth. This is what the second part of this report will attempt to analyze (Chapter II).

This transitional period is characterized by the difficulty of presenting to the Tunisian people a fundamental text around which national consensus can be achieved. Is it because of the lack of popular endorsement of the draft constitution that it is today rejected by groups of people who consider themselves dispossessed of their own revolution? The political part of the report (Chapter I) will attempt to demonstrate that it is because of the absence of parameters of good governance that the situation is so confusing today at a time when the national dialogue is starting out.

About ATG

The Tunisian Association for Governance (ATG) is a leading actor in Tunisia’s civil society, politics and business scene. Its cross-disciplinary approach to governance issues allows the organization to have a complete, broad-based vision for the nation’s strategic priorities in political, social and economic development.

This publication was produced as part of POMED’s Civil Society Partnerships program. For more information about this program, click here. To see other publications produced through this program, click here.

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