The Assembly of the Representatives of the People (ARP) speaker and president, Mohamed Ennaceur on Wednesday, March 9, announced that the ARP would have a six day work week for the remainder of the current session which ends in July. Ennaceur also announced that a proposed measure, which would fine deputies 100 TND for absences from plenary sessions or committee meetings, would be implemented.
Ennaceur made the announcement at a press conference after the deputies in the ARP made declarations commending the bravery and sacrifice of the security forces and observed a moment of silence for the victims of the March 7, attack on Ben Guerdane.
Ennaceur said the six day workweek was necessary “March will be devoted to the discussion of urgent draft laws” adding the ARP has 53 bills on its agenda for the current session, including the establishment of an Independent Constitutional Court mandated by the Constitution and a draft Organic Law on the Central Bank of Tunisia.
Some of the bills scheduled for the current session include laws relating to the High Independent Broadcasting Authority (HAICA), the Higher Committee of Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties, the National Anti-Corruption Authority and the Authority of Sustainable Development and Rights of Future Generations.
And the long delayed draft law on Municipal Elections, the President of the Higher independent body for Elections (ISIE Instance Supérieure Indépendante pour les Elections) Chafik Sarsar, has stated in recent months that it would still be possible to hold local elections as scheduled in October of 2016 if the law on Municipal Elections is approved by April.
The ARP is, according to Ennaceur’s latest statements on the law, due to open debates on the Municipal Elections law in May.
Complaints were publicly voiced, before Ben Guerdane, by certain ARP deputies over the notion that they could be fined for absences, a measure which was introduced after the Parliamentary watchdog group Al-Bawsala documented two incidences of fraudulent absentee voting in December of 2016.
In announcing the planned implementation of the fines and the extended workweek on the same day the ARP deputies praised the sacrifices and service of security personnel in Ben Guerdane, Ennaceur seems to have assured that any renewed protests will be tied to the statements made the same day, in regard to Ben Guerdane.