Carter Center Calls on Tunisian President to Reinstate Country’s Constitutional Order


TUNIS, TUNISIA (Sept. 29, 2021) —When President Kaïs Saïed invoked Article 80 of the constitution on July 25 and then issued Decree 117 on Sept. 22, he effectively undid the constitutional order set out in the 2014 Constitution and gave himself unchecked control over all levers of governmental authority. His unilateral decisions undermine fundamental democratic principles in general and those set out in the 2014 Constitution in particular and threaten the democratic aspirations of the Tunisian people. 

While the president’s announcement to name a new prime minister is positive, The Carter Center strongly urges the president to reconsider Decree 117 and move swiftly to form a government and reinstate parliament and the provisional authority on the constitutionality of draft laws. It also is imperative that he open genuine discussions with elected representatives, civil society organizations, political parties, independent governmental institutions, and other stakeholders to agree on any changes to the constitution and other laws in order to implement changes in the electoral system. Safeguarding the hard-won democratic principles and institutions put in place by the 2014 Constitution is paramount to continuing Tunisia’s transition to democracy while respecting the rule of law.

The president initially stated that his actions would be temporary and, in July, set a 30-day deadline to appoint a new prime minister and release a roadmap outlining steps to end the extraordinary measures. However, his latest actions have no set deadline and are in effect until further notice. Decree 117 grants him the sole prerogative to rule by presidential decree in all areas covered by both organic and ordinary laws without judicial review. It also signals his intention to rewrite the constitution and other laws related to elections and political parties through the appointment of an expert commission of his own choosing.

The last 10 years of governmental and political party dysfunction have soured the Tunisian people on democracy writ large. With little economic improvement, they have seen no benefit to their revolution. However, in a democracy, reform must be accomplished through consultation, the constitution, and a duly elected parliament representing the public’s interests. Any reform of the 2014 Constitution and the political system enshrined in it should not be dictated unilaterally by presidential power without an inclusive debate and reinstatement of the checks and balances the constitution provides.


مركز كارتر يدعو الرئيس التونسي إلى الرجوع إلى النظام الدستوري للبلاد


Contact: Soyia Ellison, associate communications director,
Don Bisson, interim country director,


The Carter Center
Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.