IV. The Executive Authority

Part One: The President of the Republic

 

Article 72

The President of the Republic is the Head of State and the symbol of its unity. He guarantees its independence and continuity, and ensures respect of the Constitution.

 

Article 73

The official seat of the Presidency of the Republic is the capital, Tunis. In exceptional circumstances, the seat may be moved to any other location in the Republic.

 

Article 74

Every male and female voter who holds Tunisian nationality since birth, whose religion is Islam shall have the right to stand for election to the position of President of the Republic.

On the day of filing the application for candidacy, the candidate must be at least 35 years old.

If the candidate has a nationality other than the Tunisian nationality, he or she must submit an application committing to abandon the other nationality if elected president.

The candidate must have the support of a number of members of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People or heads of elected local authority councils, or of registered voters, as specified by the election law.

 

Article 75

The President of the Republic is elected for a five-year term during the last sixty day period of the presidential term by means of universal, free, direct, secret, fair, and transparent elections, by an absolute majority of votes cast.

In the event that no candidate achieves such a majority in the first round, a second round shall be organized during the two weeks following the announcement of the definitive results of the first round. Only the two candidates having won the highest number of votes during the first round may stand for election in the second round.

In the event of the death of one of the candidates during the first or second round, nominations shall be reopened and new dates for elections shall be set within no more than forty-five days. Withdrawal of candidates from the first or second round will not affect the election.

In the event of failure to hold the presidential elections as a result of imminent danger, the term of presidency shall be extended through passing a law.

 

Article 76

The elected President of the Republic shall swear the following oath before the Assembly of the Representatives of the People:

“I do solemnly swear, by God Almighty, to maintain the independence of Tunisia and the integrity of its territory, to respect its Constitution and legislation, to safeguard its interests, and to remain absolutely loyal to it”.

The President of the Republic may not combine a partisan position with that of President.

 

Article 77

The President of the Republic is responsible for representing the state. He/she is responsible for determining the general state orientations in the domains of defence, foreign relations and national security in relation to protecting the state and the national territory from all internal and external threats, after consultation with the Head of Government

He/she also has the following powers:

  • Dissolving the Assembly of the Representatives of the People in accordance with provisions of the Constitution. The Assembly shall not be dissolved during the six months following granting confidence to the government, or the six months following legislative elections, or during the last six months of the presidential or parliamentary terms;
  • Chairing the National Security Council, to which the Head of Government and Speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People are invited;
  • Being the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces;
  • Declaring war and establishing peace, upon the approval by a majority of three-fifths of the members of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, as well as sending troops abroad with the approval of the Speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People and of the Head of Government; the Assembly shall deliberate on the matter within a period not exceeding sixty days from the date of the decision to send troops;
  • Taking measures that are required by a state of emergency, and to publicly announce such measures in accordance with article 80;
  • Ratifying treaties and ordering their publication;
  • Awarding decorations;
  • Issuing special pardons.

Article 78

The President of the Republic undertakes the following appointments through presidential orders:

  • Appointing and dismissing the General Mufti of the Tunisian Republic.
  • Appointing and dismissing individuals in senior positions in the Presidency of the Republic, and dependent institutions. These senior positions are regulated by law.
  • Appointing and dismissing individuals in senior military and diplomatic positions, and positions related to national security, after consultation with the Head of Government. These senior positions are regulated by law.
  • Appointing the governor of the Central Bank upon a proposal by the Head of Government after the appointment is approved by an absolute majority of members of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People. The governor shall be dismissed in the same manner, or upon the request of a third of the members of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People and by approval of the majority of the members.

 

Article 79

The President of the Republic may address the Assembly of the Representatives of the People.

 

Article 80

In the event of imminent danger threatening the nation’s institutions or the security or independence of the country, and hampering the normal functioning of the state, the President of the Republic may take any measures necessitated by the exceptional circumstances, after consultation with the Head of Government and the Speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People and informing the President of the Constitutional Court. The President shall announce the measures in a statement to the people.

The measures shall guarantee, as soon as possible, a return to the normal functioning of state institutions and services. The Assembly of the Representatives of the People shall be deemed to be in a state of continuous session throughout such a period. In this situation, the President of the Republic cannot dissolve the Assembly of the Representatives of the People and a motion of censure against the government cannot be presented.

Thirty days after the entry into force of these measures, and at any time thereafter, the Speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People or thirty of the members thereof shall be entitled to apply to the Constitutional Court with a view to verifying whether or not the circumstances remain exceptional. The Court shall rule upon and publicly issue its decision within a period not exceeding fifteen days.

These measures cease to be in force as soon as the circumstances justifying their implementation no longer apply. The President of the Republic shall address a message to the people to this effect.

 

Article 81

The President of the Republic shall sign laws and ensures their publication in the Official Gazette of the Tunisian Republic within a period of no more than four days from:

1. The deadline to challenge constitutionality and the deadline to return, without any of them occurring.

2. Expiry of the deadline to return after issuing a decision of constitutionality, or after the mandatory referral of the draft law to the President of the Republic in accordance with the final paragraph of Article 121.

3. The deadline to challenge the constitutionality of a draft law that was returned by the President of the Republic and after its ratification in a modified version by the Assembly of the Representatives of the People.

4. The second approval, without amendment, of a draft law, after return, by the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, without being subject to a challenge of constitutionality after the first ratification, or the issuance of a decision confirming its constitutionality, or the mandatory referral of the draft law to the President of the Republic in accordance with the final paragraph of Article 121.

5. The court decides a law is constitutional, or after the mandatory referral of the draft law to the President of the Republic in accordance with the final paragraph of Article 121, if it was returned from the President of the Republic and was approved, in a modified version, by the Assembly.

With the exception of draft constitutional laws, the President of the Republic has the right to return the draft with explanation to the Assembly to discuss it again within five days from:

1. The deadline to challenge constitutionality according to provisions of the first paragraph of Article 120.

2. Issuance of a decision on its constitutionality or when the Constitutional Court abandons it according to provisions of the third paragraph of Article 121, in the case of challenging the meanings included in the first paragraph of Article 120.

Upon return, the ratification of ordinary draft laws requires the approval of an absolute majority of the members of the Assembly, while draft organic laws require the approval of three fifths of the members.

 

Article 82

The President of the Republic may, in exceptional circumstances, within the deadlines for return of a draft law, submit for a referendum draft laws related to the ratification of treaties, to freedoms and human rights, or personal status, which were adopted by the Assembly of the Representatives of the People. The submission to referendum shall be deemed a waiver of the right to return the draft law to the Assembly.

If the result of the referendum is the ratification of the draft law, the President of the Republic shall sign it and order to publish it within a period not exceeding ten days from the date of announcement of the results of the referendum.

The election law shall regulate the procedures for conducting the referendum and announcing its results.

 

Article 83

The President of the Republic may, in the event of a temporary inability to perform his/her tasks, temporarily delegate his/her powers to the Head of Government for a maximum period of 30 days, renewable once.

The President of the Republic shall inform the Speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People of the temporary delegation of powers.

 

Article 84

In the event of the position of President of the Republic becoming temporarily vacant for reasons that prevent the President of the Republic from delegating his/her powers, the Constitutional Court shall promptly meet and declare the temporary vacancy of the office, and the Head of Government shall immediately be invested with the responsibilities of the President of the Republic. The period of temporary vacancy may not exceed sixty days.

Should the temporary vacancy exceed the sixty-day period, or if the President of the Republic submits a written resignation to the President of the Constitutional Court, or in the event of his/her death or absolute incapacity, or for any other reason that causes a permanent vacancy, the Constitutional Court shall promptly meet and acknowledge the permanent vacancy and notify the Speaker of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People who shall, on a temporary basis, immediately undertake the tasks of the President of the Republic for a period of no less than forty-five days and no more than ninety days.

 

Article 85

In the event of permanent vacancy, the interim President of the Republic shall take the oath set out in the Constitution before the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, and in case it is necessary before the Assembly’s Bureau or before the Constitutional Court in the event that the Assembly has been dissolved.

 

Article 86

The interim President of the Republic, during the temporary or permanent vacancy of the office, exercises the presidential responsibilities. He/she shall not be entitled to propose amending the Constitution, call for a referendum or dissolve the Assembly of the Representatives of the People.

During the period of interim presidency, a new President of the Republic shall be elected for a full presidential term. No motion of censure against the government may be presented during the period of interim presidency.

 

Article 87

The President of the Republic enjoys judicial immunity during his/her term in office. All statutes of limitations and other deadlines are suspended, and judicial procedures can only be recommenced after the end of his/her term.

The President of the Republic cannot be prosecuted for acts that were carried out in the context of performing his/her functions.

 

Article 88

The Assembly of the Representatives of the People may, through the initiative of a majority of its members, present a motion to bring to an end the President of the Republic’s term for a grave violation of the Constitution. Such a motion must be approved by two-thirds of the members. In such an event, the matter is referred to the Constitutional Court for a decision by a majority of two-thirds of its members. In the event of condemnation, the Constitutional Court orders removal of the President of the Republic from office, without excluding eventual criminal prosecution when necessary. Where the President has been removed from office under these circumstances, he/she is not entitled to run in any subsequent elections.