'Death threat' delays Tunisia constitution debate

Debate in parliament was dominated on Sunday by discussion of the threats, leading to a suspension of planned debate and voting on the constitution.

'Death threat' delays Tunisia constitution debate

World Bulletin / News Desk

Death threats against Tunisian lawmakers on Sunday disrupted voting on a new constitution.

Tunisia's parliament started voting last week on the new charter, which is meant to put democracy back on track after deadlock between ruling and secular parties since the 2011 fall of autocratic leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Approving the constitution is a key step before a caretaker government takes office to end the crisis between Islamists and secular opponents and prepare for new elections later this year.

Members of the national assembly have approved several articles of the new constitution, but on Sunday, Mongi Rahoui of a leftist opposition party and two other secular opposition members received anonymous death threats, officials said.

Debate in parliament was dominated on Sunday by discussion of the threats, leading to a suspension of planned debate and voting on the constitution.

"According to information received, assembly member Mongi Rahoui and two others may have been threatened with aggression and the ministry has taken steps to protect those individuals and opened an investigation," the Interior Ministry said.

Rym Mahjoub, an opposition member of the assembly, told Reuters that police came early Sunday morning to Rahoui's home to warn him that A threat had been issued against him, without giving further details.

Opposition party members said the threats came after Habib Ellouz told reporters on Saturday that Rahoui was seen as an enemy of Islam who wanted to remove references to Islam from the constitution.

Ennahda lawmakers said Ellouz, who apologised on Sunday, had only expressed his personal views, which did not reflect the party's position.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Ocak 2014, 11:49
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