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Constitution of Tunisia (2008) – 3: The Executive Power

CHAPTER THREE 
THE EXECUTIVE POWER

Article 37
The executive power shall be exercised by the President of the Republic assisted by a Government under the direction of a Prime Minister.

Section I
The President of the Republic

Article 38
The President of the Republic shall be the Head of the State. His religion shall be Islam.

Article 39[27]
The President of the Republic shall be elected for five years by universal, free, direct and secret suffrage with the absolute majority of the votes cast within the last thirty days of the presidential term of office. In case this majority is not attained in the first round of voting, a second round shall be held on the second Sunday which follows the vote. Only the two candidates polling the greatest number of votes in the first ballot, after any withdrawal [of better placed candidates], may stand in the second ballot in accordance with the conditions defined by the Elections Act.

If it is impossible to hold the elections at the prescribed time due to war or imminent danger, the term of office of the President shall be extended by statute adopted by the Chamber of Deputies until it becomes possible to proceed with the elections.

The President of the Republic may be re-elected.

Article 40[28], [29]
Any Tunisian whose only nationality is Tunisian, who is of Muslim religion and whose father, mother and paternal and maternal grandfather have been of Tunisian nationality without interruption may present himself as a candidate for the Presidency
of the Republic.

Moreover, the candidate must be at least forty years and at most seventy-five years of age on the day of submitting his candidacy and must enjoy all his civil and political rights.

The candidate shall be presented by a number of members of the Chamber of Deputies and of presidents of the municipalities, in accordance with the modalities and conditions stipulated by the Elections Act. Failing compliance with the conditions for the presentation of the candidate provided for in paragraph 3 of Article 40 of the Constitution, the leader of each political party, whether he is the President or Secretary General or First Secretary of his party, may exceptionally present his candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic in the presidential elections of the year 2009, provided that he has been elected to his leadership post and that he has been exercising it on the day of the submission of his candidacy for a consecutive period of not less than two years since his election.

The declaration of candidacy shall be recorded in a special registry maintained by the Constitutional Council.

The Constitutional Council shall determine the validity of candidacies, proclaim the election result and adjudicate the complaints which are submitted to it in this regard, in conformity with the provisions of the Elections Act.

Article 41[30]
The President of the Republic shall be the guarantor of national independence, of the integrity of the territory and of respect for the Constitution and the laws as well as the execution of treaties. He shall supervise the proper functioning of the constitutional public authorities and ensure the continuity of the State.

The President of the Republic shall enjoy immunity before the courts during his stay in office. He shall also benefit from this immunity after his term of office has ended with regard to acts performed on the occasion of the exercise of his functions.

Article 42[31]
The elected President of the Republic shall take the following oath before a joint session of the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Councilors:

“I swear by God Almighty to safeguard the independence of the homeland and the integrity of the territory, to respect the Constitution of the country and its legislation and to watch scrupulously over the interests of the Nation.”

Article 43
The official seat of the Presidency of the Republic shall be established in Tunis or its surroundings. However, in exceptional circumstances, it may be transferred provisionally to any other place of the territory of the Republic.

Article 44
The President of the Republic shall be the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

Article 45
The President of the Republic shall accredit diplomatic representatives to foreign powers. The diplomatic representatives of foreign powers shall be accredited to him.

Article 46[32]
In case of imminent danger threatening the institutions of the Republic, the security and independence of the country and obstructing the proper functioning of public authorities, the President of the Republic may take the exceptional measures required by the circumstances, after consultation with the Prime Minister and the President of the Chamber of Deputies and the President of the Chamber of Councilors.

He shall address a message on the matter to the people.

During this period, the President of the Republic may not dissolve the Chamber of Deputies and no motion of censure may be presented against the Government.

These measures shall cease to have effect as soon as the circumstances that produced them come to an end. The President of the Republic shall address a message to the Chamber of Deputies and to the Chamber of Councilors on the matter.

Article 47[33]
The President of the Republic may directly submit to referendum Bills of national importance or issues affecting the superior interest of the country, provided that these Bills or issues are not contrary to the Constitution.

When the referendum has resulted in the adoption of the Bill, the President of the Republic shall promulgate it within a maximum period of fifteen days following the proclamation of the results.

The Elections Act shall establish the modalities of the referendum proceedings and of the proclamation of results.

Article 48[34]
The President of the Republic shall sign the treaties.

He shall declare war and conclude peace with the approval of the Chamber of Deputies.

He shall exercise the right of pardon.

Article 49[35]
The President of the Republic shall determine the direction of the general policy of the Nation, define its fundamental options and inform the Chamber of Deputies thereof.

The President of the Republic shall communicate with the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Councilors either directly or by message.

Article 50
The President of the Republic shall appoint the Prime Minister and, on his proposal, the other members of the Government.

The President of the Republic shall preside over the Council of Ministers.

Article 51
The President of the Republic shall terminate the functions of the Government or of one of its members on his own initiative or upon recommendation of the Prime Minister.

Article 52[36]
The President of the Republic shall promulgate Constitutional, Institutional or ordinary Acts and ensure their publication in the Official Journal of the Tunisian Republic within a maximum period of fifteen days following their transmission, as the case may be, by the President of the Chamber of Deputies or the President of the Chamber of Councilors.

The President of the Republic may, during this period, return the Bill to the Chamber of Deputies for reconsideration. If the Bill is re-enacted by the Chamber of Deputies by a majority of two-thirds of its members, the Act shall be promulgated and published within a second maximum period of fifteen days.

The President may, within the time limits provided for in the first paragraph of the present Article and after obtaining the opinion of the Constitutional Council, return the Bill or certain of its provisions which have been amended to the Chamber of Deputies for a new debate. The amendments shall be adopted by the Chamber of Deputies on the basis of the majority provided for in Article 28 of the Constitution. Following the adoption the Bill shall be promulgated and published within a maximum period of fifteen days, starting on the date of its transmission to the President of the Republic.

Article 53[37]
The President of the Republic shall supervise the execution of the statutes and exercise the general regulatory power, and may delegate part of it to the Prime Minister.

Article 54
Bills shall be discussed in the Council of Ministers.

Decrees of a regulatory character shall be countersigned by the Prime Minister and by the member of the Government concerned.

Article 55[38]
The President of the Republic shall make appointments to the higher civil and military posts upon proposal by the Government.

The President may delegate his appointment power to the Prime Minister for some of these posts.

Article 56[39]
In case of temporary disability, the President of the Republic may delegate his powers by decree to the Prime Minister, with the exclusion of the power to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies.

During the temporary disability of the President of the Republic, the Government, even if it is the object of a motion of censure, shall remain in office until the end of this disability.

The President of the Republic shall inform the President of the Chamber of Deputies and the President of the Chamber of Councilors of the provisional delegation of his powers.

Article 57[40]
In case the Presidency of the Republic becomes vacant on account of death, resignation, or permanent disability, the Constitutional Council shall meet immediately and pronounce the permanent vacancy by absolute majority of its members. It shall address a declaration to this effect to the President of the Chamber of Councilors and the President of the Chamber of Deputies, who shall be invested immediately with the functions of Interim President of the Republic for a period of at least 45 days and at most 60 days. If the permanent vacancy coincides with the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies, the President of the Chamber of Councilors shall be invested with the functions of Interim President of the Republic for the same period.

The Interim President of the Republic shall take the constitutional oath before the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Councilors in joint session and, as the case 16 may be, before the bureaus of the two Chambers. If the permanent vacancy coincides with the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies, the Interim President of the Republic shall take the constitutional oath before the Chamber of Councilors and, as the case may be, before its bureau.

The Interim President of the Republic may not be a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic even in the case of resignation.

The Interim President of the Republic shall discharge the functions assigned to the President of the Republic, without having the power, however, to resort to a referendum, to dismiss the Government, to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies, or to take the exceptional measures provided for in Article 46.

During the Interim Presidency no amendment to the Constitution or censure motion against the Government shall be admissible.

During the same period presidential elections shall be organized to elect a new President of the Republic for a term of five years.

The new President of the Republic may dissolve the Chamber of Deputies and organize early legislative elections in conformity with the provisions of the second paragraph of Article 63.

Section II
The Government

Article 58
The Government shall supervise the implementation of the general policy of the State in conformity with the directions and options defined by the President of the Republic.

Article 59
The Government shall be responsible to the President of the Republic for its action.

Article 60[41]
The Prime Minister shall direct and coordinate the action of the Government. He shall replace, if necessary, the President of the Republic in the chair of the Council of Ministers or any other council.

Article 61[42]
The members of the Government shall have access to the Chamber of Deputies and to the Chamber of Councilors, as well as to their commissions.

Any member of the Chamber of Deputies may address written or oral questions to the
Government.

A session in each period shall be reserved to oral questions by the members of the Chamber of Deputies and to the responses of the Government. The session may also be used for a debate between the Chamber of Deputies and the Government concerning sectoral policies. A session of the full Assembly may also be dedicated to the responses to oral questions concerning current matters.

Article 62[43]
The Chamber of Deputies may call the Government to account through the vote of a censure motion if it appears to the Chamber that it does not act in conformity with the general policy of the State and the fundamental options provided for in Articles 48
and 59.

The motion shall not be admissible unless it is motivated and signed by at least one third of the members of the Chamber of Deputies; the vote may only take place 48 hours after motion has been tabled.

When a motion of censure is adopted by an absolute majority of the members of the Chamber of Deputies, the President of the Republic shall accept the resignation of the Government tendered by the Prime Minister.

Article 63[44]
If the Chamber of Deputies has adopted a second motion of censure with a two-thirds majority during the same legislature, the President of the Republic may either accept the resignation of the Government or dissolve the Chamber of Deputies.

The decree dissolving the Chamber of Deputies must convene the voters to new elections within a maximum period of thirty days.

In case of a dissolution pronounced in the conditions of the first paragraph of the present Article, the President of the Republic may adopt decree-laws which later have to be submitted to the approval of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Chamber of
Councilors, as the case may be.

The newly-elected Chamber shall sit as of right within eight days of the proclamation of the election results.

Next: Chapter 4 – The Judicial Power

[27] As amended by Constitutional Act No. 88-88 of July 25, 1988 and by Constitutional Act No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2002. The constitutional reform of June 2002 has introduced the requirement of an absolute majority for the election of the
President and removed the limits on re-eligibility.
[28] As amended by Constitutional Act No. 88-88 of July 25, 1988 and by Constitutional Act No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2002 which has raised the maximum age of presidential candidates from seventy to seventy-five, restricted the right to nominate a
presidential candidates to certain elected representatives and entrusted the task of supervising the election process to the Constitutional Council.
[29] Constitutional Act No. 2008-52 of July 28, 2008 has (re-)introduced a temporary derogation from the normal requirements for candidacies for the Presidency, exceptionally allowing any head of a political party, whether represented in Parliament or not, to run for the President in 2009.
[30] Paragraph 2 added by Constitutional Act No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2002.
[31] As amended by Constitutional Act No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2002.
[32] Paragraphs 1, 4 as amended by Constitutional Act No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2002.
[33] Constitutional Act No. 97-65 of October 1997 has widened the scope of application of the referendum which was previously limited to certain categories of bills, i.e. bills relating to the organization of the public powers or seeking to ratify a
treaty.
[34] Constitutional Act No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2001 has replaced the term “ratify” with the word “sign” in paragraph 1.
[35] As amended by Constitutional Act No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2002.
[36] As amended by Constitutional Act No. 97-65 of October 27, 1988 and by Constitutional Act No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2002 which, inter alia, introduced a new paragraph 3.
[37] Constitutional Act of No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2002 has removed the possibility for the President to delegate the general regulatory power in its totality to the Prime Minister.
[38] Paragraph 2 was introduced by Constitutional Act No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2002.
[39] As amended by Constitutional Act No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2002.
[40] As amended by Constitutional Act No. 88-88 of July 25, 1988 and by Constitutional Act No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2002.
[41] As amended by Constitutional Act No. 88-88 of July 25, 1988.
[42] As amended by Constitutional Act No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2002.
[43] As amended by Constitutional Act No. 88-88 of July 25, 1988 and by Constitutional Act No. 2002-51 of June 1, 2002, which has lowered the threshold for the adoption of a censure motion from a two-thirds to an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies.
[44] As amended by Constitutional Act No. 88-88 of July 25, 1988.

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