Hundreds of Tunisian protesters have taken to the streets in the capital Tunis to voice their opposition to a draft law that is expected to ban the former regime’s officials from running in elections.
Demonstrators gathered outside the country’s National Constituent Assembly (NCA) on Saturday, chanting slogans such as “No to dictatorship!” and “No to exclusion…No to collective punishment.”
Opponents of the Tunisian government say the controversial law aims to keep the opposition out of politics.
The draft law, if passed by the lawmakers, will prevent all the officials during the era of the deposed dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, form taking part in parliamentary elections slated for this year.
“No one has the right to deprive Tunisian citizens from exercising their civil rights. Tunisia is for all Tunisians,” said Taieb Baccouche, secretary of the opposition movement Nidaa Tounes.
Moreover, the head of Nidaa Tounes, post-revolution premier Beji Caid Essebsi, was quoted as saying that the new law could exclude some 60,000 Tunisians from political activities.
MPs will express their opinions about the text of the draft new constitution on July 1. Then the parliament will set a date for scrutiny of the document in which MPs will review each article.
After its adoption, the government of Prime Minister Ali Larayedh will set dates for parliamentary and presidential elections. He has promised to hold elections between October 15 and December 15.
In December 2010, Mohammed Bouazizi, an unemployed young Tunisian frustrated with poverty and financial problems, set himself ablaze and died.
Bouazizi’s death sparked mass protests, which finally caused a popular revolution in Tunisia, leading to the ouster of the country’s Western-backed ruler in January 2011.
In October 2011, the Islamic Ennahda party won 89 seats of a 217-strong assembly in the first democratic elections after the ouster of Ben Ali.
In December 2011, the assembly adopted a provisional constitution to run state affairs.
Feuding Tunisian politicians have missed several deadlines to draw up the new constitution. Finally, in June 2013, the NCA received the final draft of the constitution.
The original article can be found on the PressTV website, here.