In a video published by the Tunisian presidency, Kaïs Saïed castigates the Venice Commission, which believes that the referendum of July 25 should be postponed.
"She must take care of her gondolas and the Tunisian people cannot be led by those who run the gondolas." When discussing the Venice Commission, Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed does not mince his words. The President of the Republic, when he received, on Monday, his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Othman Jerandi, indicated that “the Venice Commission is persona non grata in Tunisia”. For Saïd, the sovereignty of Tunisia “is not to be negotiated”.
The reason for this anger? A bad report. The Venice Commission document castigates the organisation, on 25 July next, of a referendum on the Constitution. On 27 May, the committee issued an "urgent opinion on the constitutional and legislative framework concerning the referendum and the elections announced by the President of the Republic", at the request of the "European External Action Service, submitted through the intermediary of the Delegation of the European Union in Tunisia”.
In this document of about twenty pages, the Venice Commission does not comment on the question of the legitimacy of modifying the Constitution but affirms "that it is not realistic to plan to organize in a credible and legitimate way a constitutional referendum on July 25, 2022, in the absence - two months before the date scheduled for the consultation - of clear rules established well in advance on the terms and consequences of holding this referendum and especially in the absence of the text of the new Constitution which will be submitted to referendum”.
“Who do they think they are? »
An opinion that is not binding for Tunis: the Venice Commission, which is a "European Commission for Democracy through Law", is a simple advisory body of the Council of Europe, which deals with constitutional issues.
But the criticism did not pass to the Tunisian presidency. Kaïs Saïed was virulent to say the least: “Who do they think they are? Are they nostalgic for the era of Jules Ferry? They say they want to teach us… They have nothing to teach us,” the Head of State got carried away, claiming that he does not “need their support and their help”.
A flight which was accompanied by threats: "If a member of this commission is in Tunisia, he must leave immediately", indeed indicated Kaïs Saïed, who also denounces "a flagrant interference inadmissible on all levels". . For the president, Tunisia “is neither a farm nor a meadow” belonging to Europe.
We are far from the cordial relations of the past between Carthage and the Venice Commission. On April 1, the President of the Republic Kaïs Saïed received the president of the commission, Claire Bazy-Malaurie, with the aim of “consolidating cooperation between Tunisia and the said commission”, according to a press release from the presidential palace.