On Thursday, March 9, 2023, a law was issued in the Tunisian Official Gazette dissolving the municipal councils that were elected in 2018 and amending the law on electing their members.
The newspaper also included an invitation to members of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People to attend the inaugural plenary session next Monday.
The decision stipulated that “all municipal councils shall be dissolved until new municipal councils are elected.”
The governor temporarily manages the affairs of the councils.
Tunisian President Saeed, who monopolizes the authorities in the country, said in a video clip published by the Tunisian presidency at dawn on Thursday, “Two projects will be reviewed related to revising the municipal councils election law, then the law electing members of the national councils for regions and regions, along with another text related to dissolving all municipal councils and replacing them with special representations.”
“We will continue the march together, and we will not accept anything other than victory as an alternative,” Saeed added, while chairing a ministerial council.
And in May 2018, municipal elections were organized, the first in the country after the 2011 revolution, and the Independent High Authority for Elections announced at the time that the independent lists participating in the elections won 2,373 seats, followed by the Ennahda party with an Islamic reference with 2,139 seats, then the “Nidaa Tounes” party with 1,600 seats.
However, as a result of this, and due to political conflicts, the councils entered into severe disputes over the political affiliations of their members, which ended with the dissolution of a number of them and the holding of new elections.
Those elections enabled the consecration of the principle of decentralization of power stipulated in the 2014 constitution, which is one of the demands of the revolution that emanated from the marginalized regions of the country.
In April 2018, the Tunisian Parliament approved the Local Communities Law, which granted municipalities for the first time the privileges of independent councils that run freely and have wide powers.
During those elections, about 2,074 electoral lists competed for 350 municipal councils across the country.
Saeed seeks to complete his political project based on an enhanced presidential system and put an end to the parliamentary system that was approved following the 2011 revolution that overthrew the regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and put the country on a democratic transition path that was the only one in the region after the “Arab Spring” uprisings.
In July 2022, a new constitution was approved following a popular referendum, which guarantees limited powers to Parliament in exchange for granting the president the majority of executive powers, including the appointment of the government and its prime minister.
At the beginning of this year, parliamentary elections were held, in which about 90 percent of the voters refused to participate.
Saeed again attacked his opponents in the video clip, criticizing the demonstrations organized by the parties and fronts opposing him, and said, “Today they are demonstrating freely and claiming that there is tyranny, although they are demonstrating under the protection of security.”
“They want to play the victim,” he continued.