Should Tunisia dump the constitutional process?

One of the debates in Tunisia over how to handle the post-Ben Ali transition is over whether the current constitutional framework should be strictly followed. The government today indicated it wanted to follow Article 57 of the constitution and hold new elections in 45-60 days. But many in the opposition will not stand for any elections that take place under the current electoral law, which restricts many parties from presenting candidates for the presidency, and rightly insist that elections should be run by an independent electoral commission rather than the elite of the ruling RCD party. And then there is the question of the participation of banned parties, such as the long repressed Islamist party an-Nahda (roughly a Muslim Brotherhood modeled movement). 

Allowing for such changes may take longer than the 60-day deadline the new interim government (whose legitimacy is still contested) has. The question now is, can a consensus be formed about how to proceed? 

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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.