Local governments in Tunisia’s new Constitution

Tunisia’s new Constitution

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The National Constituent Assembly of Tunisia adopted a new Constitution on 26 January, taking another step towards real democracy and recognizing the rights and freedoms of its citizens. This new constitution, which was very well received by the vast majority of the population, brings an end to this period of agitation and imbalances, three years after the outbreak of the Arab Spring and the fall of the dictatorial regime of Ben Ali.

The Constitution is a significant achievement for the local level of the country as it dedicates a specific chapter to local governments. It recognizes the decentralization processes as the fundamental basis for the organization and distribution of power in Tunisia in order to achieve a more efficient and closer administration to the citizens. The first article dedicated to local authorities states that "local power is based on decentralization" (Chapter VII, Article 131). It further states that local and regional governments -chosen by universal, free and transparent vote-, will have their own legal personality, as well as administrative and financial competence and autonomy.

UCLG and the Committee on Decentralisation and Local Self-Government of UCLG, with the support of the Mediterranean Interregional Committee, organized an international seminar in Tunis in 2012 on this issue. Thus, UCLG celebrates the arrival of the new Constitution and encourages local governments worldwide to continue working for the recognition of their role on improving the life quality of its citizens.

Source: Committee on Decentralisation and Local Self-Government of UCLG