III. Legislative Authority

 

Article 50

The people exercise legislative power through their representatives in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People or through referendum.

 

Article 51

The seat of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall be located in the Capital, Tunis. Nevertheless, in exceptional circumstances, the Assembly may sit in any other place within the Republic.

 

Article 52

The Assembly of the Representatives of the People enjoys financial and administrative independence within the framework of the state budget.

The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall determine its rules of procedure and ratify them by an absolute majority of the members of the Assembly.

The state shall put at the disposition of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People the necessary human and material resources to allow for members of the Assembly to fulfill their obligations.

 

Article 53

Every Tunisian voter who has acquired Tunisian nationality at least ten years prior and is no younger than twenty three years of age on the day of candidacy is eligible to be elected to the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, provided that they are not prohibited from holding such a position as specified by the law.

 

Article 54

Every Tunisian citizen aged eighteen years shall be deemed a voter in accordance with the conditions established by the election law.

 

Article 55

Claim of universal suffrage Members of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall be elected by universal, free, direct, secret, fair and transparent voting, in accordance with the election law.

The election law guarantees the voting and representation rights to the Assembly of the Representatives of the People for Tunisians resident overseas.

 

Article 56

The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall be elected for a term of five years, during the last sixty days of the parliamentary term.

In the event of inability to hold elections as a result of imminent danger, the term of the Assembly shall be extended according to the provisions of a law.

 

Article 57

The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall hold an ordinary session each year starting in October and ending in July. The first session of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall begin within fifteen days following the announcement of the definitive results of the legislative elections, at the request of the Speaker of the outgoing Assembly.

In the event that the beginning of the first session of the term of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People coincides with its recess, an extraordinary session shall be held in order to proceed to a vote of confidence in the government.

During its recess, the Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall convene in an extraordinary session upon the request of the President of the Republic, the Head of Government, or one-third of its members, to examine a specific agenda.

 

Article 58

Every member in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall, upon assuming their functions, swear the following oath:

“I swear, by God Almighty, that I will diligently serve the nation, that I will respect the provisions of the Constitution, and that I will bear full allegiance to Tunisia.”

 

Article 59

The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall in its first session elect a Speaker from amongst its members.

The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall form permanent and special committees. Their composition and the sharing of responsibilities within the committees shall be determined on the basis of proportional representation.

The Assembly of the Representatives of the People may form committees of enquiry. All authorities shall assist such committees of enquiry in undertaking their tasks.

 

Article 60

The opposition is an essential component of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People. It shall enjoy the rights that enable it to undertake its parliamentary duties and is guaranteed an adequate and effective representation in all bodies of the Assembly, as well as in its internal and external activities.

The opposition is assigned the chair of the Finance Committee, and rapporteur of the External Relations Committee.

It has the right to establish and head a committee of enquiry annually. The opposition’s duties include active and constructive participation in parliamentary work.

 

Article 61

Voting in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People is personal and may not be delegated.

 

Article 62

Legislative initiative is carried out with legislative propositions made by no less than ten members, or with draft laws submitted by the President of the Republic, or by the Head of Government.

The Head of the Government is the only authority entitled to present draft laws related to the ratification of treaties and draft budget laws.

Treaty ratification Draft laws presented by the President or the Head of Government shall be given priority.

 

Article 63

Legislative propositions and amendments presented by members of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People are not admissible if they affect the financial balances regulated in the finance law.

 

Article 64

The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall adopt draft organic laws by an absolute majority of all members, and ordinary draft laws by a majority of members who are present, provided that such a majority represents no less than one-third of the members of the Assembly.

No draft organic law shall be presented for debate to the plenary session of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People until at least fifteen days have passed since its submission to the competent parliamentary committee.

 

Article 65

Laws relating to the following areas are deemed ordinary laws:

 

  • Creation of public institutions and facilities and the provisions regulating their work;
  • Nationality;
  • Civil and commercial obligations;
  • Procedures before various types of courts;
  • Definition of felonies and misdemeanours and the corresponding punishments applicable, in addition to violations resulting in a penalty involving deprivation of freedom;
  • General pardon;
  • Regulation of taxation rules, percentages and procedures for collection thereof;
  • Regulations on issuance of currency;
  • Loans and financial obligations of the state;
  •  Regulation of senior public positions;
  • Declaration of earnings;
  • Basic guarantees given to civil and military public employees;
  • Organizing the ratification of treaties;
  • Laws of finance and closing of the state budget, and the ratification of development plans;
  • The fundamental principles of property laws, real property rights, education, scientific research, culture, public health, the environment, land and urban planning, energy, employment rights, and social security.

Laws relating to the following areas are deemed organic laws:

  • Approval of treaties;
  • Treaty ratification
  • Organization of justice and the judiciary;
  • Organization of information, press and publication;
  • Organization and financing of parties, trade unions, associations, and professional organizations and bodies;
  • Organization of the national army;
  • Organization of the internal security forces and customs;
  • Election law;
  • Extension of the term of the parliament according to provisions of article 56;
  • Extension of the presidential term according to provisions of article 75;
  • Freedoms and human rights;
  • Personal status law;
  • Fundamental duties of citizenship;
  • Local government;
  • Organization of constitutional commissions;
  • The organic budget law.

 

All matters which do not form part of the domain of laws shall be in the domain of general regulatory authority.

 

Article 66

The law determines the state’s resources and its expenses in conformity with the provisions set out in the organic law concerning the budget.

The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall adopt draft finance laws and budget closure legislation in accordance with the provisions of the organic law on the budget.

The draft finance law shall be presented to the Assembly no later than October 15 and it shall be adopted no later than December 10.

The President of the Republic may resubmit the draft finance law to the Assembly for a second reading within two days following its ratification by the Assembly. In this case, the Assembly meets to deliberate a second time within three days of the exercise of this right of resubmission.

During the three days following the adoption of the draft law on second reading after resubmission, or after the expiry of the period for the exercise of the right of resubmission, parties mentioned in the first paragraph of article 120 can contest the constitutionality of the provisions of the draft finance law before the Constitutional Court. The Court shall issue its decision within five days.

If the Constitutional Court rules that the draft law is unconstitutional, it communicates its decision to the President of the Republic, who in turn communicates it to the Speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People. These procedures shall be completed within two days from the date of the court’s decision.

The Assembly shall adopt the draft finance law within three days following its receipt of the decision of the Constitutional Court.

If the constitutionality of the draft law is confirmed or if the law is voted in a second reading after its submission to the Assembly, once the period for claims of unconstitutionality or for the exercise of the presidential right of resubmission have expired, the President of the Republic promulgates the finance law within a period of two days.

In all cases, the promulgation shall take place before December 31.

If the draft finance law is not adopted by December 31, the law can be implemented in terms of expenditures by renewable presidential order, in three months tranches. Revenues shall continue to be collected in accordance with the laws in force.

 

Article 67

Treaty ratification Commercial treaties and treaties related to international organizations, to borders of the state, to financial obligations of the state, to the status of individuals, or to dispositions of a legislative character shall be submitted to the Assembly of the Representatives of the People for ratification.

Treaties enter into force only upon their ratification.

 

Article 68

No member of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People may be prosecuted through civil or criminal proceedings, arrested or tried for opinions or propositions presented or for work done in relation to his/her parliamentary functions.

 

Article 69

If a member of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People asserts criminal immunity in writing, he/she may not be prosecuted or arrested during his/her term of office for a criminal charge unless immunity is lifted. In the event of being apprehended committing a crime, the member may be arrested. The Speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall immediately be notified and the member shall be released if the Bureau of the Assembly so requests.

 

Article 70

In the event of the dissolution of the Assembly, the President of the Republic may, with the agreement of the Head of Government, issue decree-laws which shall be submitted for ratification to the Assembly of the Representatives of the People during its next ordinary session.

The Assembly of the Representatives of the People may, with the agreement of three-fifths of its members, authorize by law for a limited period not exceeding two months, and for a specific purpose, the Head of Government to issue decree-laws of a legislative character, to be submitted for ratification to the Assembly immediately after the end of the period of authorization.

The electoral system may not be amended by decree-laws.