An organization called the Jasmine Foundation for Research and Communication has published the first unofficial English translation of Tunisia’s new constitution, which was adopted a week ago on January 26, 2014.
Here’s some context and a summary from Wikipedia:
Constitution of 2014
On 23 October 2011, a Constituent Assembly was elected to draft the text of a new constitution. On 16 December 2011 they issued a constitutive law Law on the provisional organization of public authorities, which superseded the Legislative Decree of 23 March 2011 and the 1959 constitution. This law provided for three branches of government and guaranteed human rights during the time it takes for the new constitution to be written and ratified.
It was initially hoped that a constitution would be drafted within a year’s time. However, vigorous debate and two assassinations delayed the document. Progress quickened after the ruling Islamist Ennahda party agreed to give up power when a new constitution was passed. After two years of work, a 146-article draft constitution was completed. It was put to a vote on 26 January 2014, requiring a two-thirds majority to pass. The Constituent Assembly adopted the document by a 200-12 vote with 4 abstentions. President Marzouki remarked: “With the birth of this text, we confirm our victory over dictatorship”, and signed it into law the following day.
During the drafting process, the main points of contention were the role of religion in the government, the requirements to run for president, and the details of how the transition period after the document was passed would be handled. The new constitution makes Tunisia a decentralized and open government. It recognizes Islam as the official state religion, but protects freedom of belief. It provides for some restrictions on free speech, most notably in banning attacks on religion and accusations of being a non-believer. The constitution provides for gender equality, protects the nation’s natural resources and demands the government take steps to fight corruption. Executive power is divided between the president and prime minister. A newly selected cabinet led by former minister Mehdi Jomaa will oversee the country until elections are held to select a president. No date has been set, but elections are expected to take place within one year.
The PDF of the translation seems to be a bit slow to load, so here’s a direct link in case you need it. Download the PDF of the translation. H/T @HindMakki
UPDATE: I’ve removed the embedded PDF since all day long it has consistently timed out before loading and I don’t know what the problem is. Please use the link above to access it.
From the PDF:
Tunisia is a free, independent and sovereign state. Islam is its
religion, Arabic its language, and the republic its system.
This article cannot be amended.
Freedom of opinion, thought, expression, media and publication shall be guaranteed.
These freedoms shall not be subject to prior censorship.
Running for the position of President of the Republic shall be a right
for every male and female voter who holds Tunisian nationality since
birth, whose religion is Islam.
For the sake of comparison:
I attempted to find out which countries have a religious requirement for the presidency, but I couldn’t find a list. I assume most conservative Muslim-majority countries do, and obviously the Vatican City would require that the Pope be a Catholic male, but beyond that…? If anyone knows of any, please leave a comment.
Countries confirmed as having a religious requirement for the head of state:
- England (primarily symbolic) - H/T Decatur Deb & EPR-radar
- Vatican City
- Thailand (PDF) - H/T freetoken
- Tunisia - Article 74 of Constitution of 2014, as indicted above
- Pending: Conservative Muslim-majority countries