Opinions on the Mediterranean
adopted by the joint committee coordinating the drating, and it is ready or plenary debate. It represents major concessions rom Ennahda, especially in the area o execu-tive powers. Ennahda avored a parliamentary system, largely based on calculations o its own electoral success in winning a plurality o seats in the next ew elections. Secular parties, which are much more ragmented, avored a stronger president in the style o Bourguiba to counter an Ennahda plurality in parliament. he result is a semi-presidential system that gives important powers to both a prime minister, elected by parliament, and a directly elected president. he prime minister orms a cabinet and sets general domestic policy; the president controls oreign and national-security policy, including the appointment o the deense and oreign ministers, and can veto legislation, among other powers.he rights and reedoms chapter o the constitution was controversial during drating, especially or a largely misin-terpreted article that said that men and women enjoyed equal rights given women’s status as man’s “complement” in society. he phrase was poorly translated rom Arabic into both French and English. Nevertheless, the article was poorly drated and amended to guarantee equality in more absolute terms. Ennahda also did not pursue a “repugnancy clause” that would have banned certain types o speech that is “oensive to Islam.” he rights and reedoms section as it stands is quite comprehensive. More structural criticisms emerge, however, when looking at the text as a whole. In particular, there are some potential contradictions between the chapter on general principles, the chapter on rights and reedoms, and the preamble (which Article 138 declares to be an “integral part” o the constitution). he constitution is also weak on lawul limitations to rights, and on judicial enorcement o rights.
he proportional system used or the parliamentary elec-tions will likely remain similar to the system used in 2011 or the Constituent Assembly elections. hat system avored small parties, like the ractured secular party landscape, and discouraged large ones, like Ennahda. For one thing, there were a large number o seats per district; small parties tend to are better with more seats per district because more
1 Jörg Fedtke, “Tunisian Constitutional Reform and Fundamental Rights: Reactions to the Draft Constitution of the Republic of Tunisia,”
International IDEA & Constitutional Transitions Working Paper Series
seats mean more potential winners. Furthermore, the 2011 electoral ormula (the mathematical calculation used to translate votes into seats) avored smaller parties. Indeed, unisia’s ormula assigned 87 o 217 seats to Ennahda; another acceptable ormula used just as requently world-wide would have granted Ennahda 150 seats.
he electoral law and constitution also include no threshold, whereby parties would have to win a minimum percentage o the national vote in order to be eligible or seats, which is typi-cally a barrier to small parties. his electoral system all but guarantees that no party will win a majority o seats, leading to either a coalition or a minority government.he electoral system and the constitution taken together show a potentially dangerous uture or unisian politics. he constitution creates two powerul positions in the president and prime minister, each elected through dierent means. he secular parties are banking on their calcula-tion that a secular presidential candidate will win against a candidate rom Ennahda, given that the party received only 40 percent o seats in the 2011 elections. Current polling data also suggest that a secular candidate would stand a good chance o winning in a head-to-head election, though the number o undecided voters is quite high. Furthermore, the electoral system or parliamentary elections eectively proscribes an outright majority or any party. he stage is set or what Cindy Skach has called a
divided minority government
: a semi-presidential system where the president and prime minister are rom dierent parties, and neither has a majority in parliament.
Divided minority govern-
2 John M. Carey, “Electoral Formula and the Tunisian Constituent Assembly,” May 9,
Borrowing Constitutional Designs. Constitutional Law in Weimar Germany and the French Fifth Republic
, Princeton University Press, 2005, pp. 12-29.
The secular parties are banking on their calculation that a secular presidential candidate will win against a candidate from Ennahda.