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Tunisia

Elaborating a Legal Framework for Citizen’S Petitions (TN0029)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Tunisia Second National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry in charge with of public servant, governance and fighting corruption

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, E-petitions, Legislation & Regulation, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Tunisia End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Tunisia Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Elaborating a legal framework for citizen’s petitions

IRM Midterm Status Summary

9. Elaborate a legal framework for citizens’ petitions

Commitment Text:

Establishing a new mechanism for collective petitions in order to regulate and organize citizen participation in the process of making public decisions. This commitment represents an essential mechanism that will enhance citizen participation in the design, implementation and evaluation of public policies.

Milestones:

Preparing a legal framework to regulate collective petitions.

Responsible institution: Presidency of the Government

Supporting institution(s):

As mentioned in the NAP: Parliament

As assessed: Parliament and the World Bank

Start date: June 2016        End date: July 2018

Context and Objectives

Seven years after the revolution in 2011, Tunisian citizens still do not have an effective mechanism to directly petition elected officials and government. The new constitution, adopted in 2014, still does not include any legal framework for citizen petition. This essential tool of direct democracy, that could give Tunisian citizens a voice in decision making, remains a missing piece in the Tunisian democracy model. The only mechanism that CSOs or citizens could use to mobilize the government, or the parliament, is through lobbying or advocacy with members of parliament. For example, to force parliament to review a law, citizens need to gather signatures from MPs.

The commitment would create the legal basis for citizens to address government and parliament with petitions, therefore it is relevant to the OGP value of civic participation. This commitment could change the way Tunisians exercise democracy and participate in political life. If fully implemented, this legal framework will provide, for the first time, the opportunity to petition the government directly and put issues on the policy agenda. Therefore, it has a moderate potential impact. According to the non-governmental organization Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES), this commitment is a major piece in participatory democracy that has been missing since the revolution. However, this commitment could have been transformative with more information on the petition mechanism, which would have to include a description and features that would make it more likely that citizens would utilize it and ensure government responses.

Completion

The completion of this commitment is limited. The Presidency of the Government developed the note about drafting the law on petitions. At the time of writing this report, the Tunisian parliament had not started the process of drafting the text of the la. According to civil society the Tunisian parliament has not so far prioritized this issue for its agenda.

The World Bank office in Tunisia will be supporting the completion of this commitment through 2019.

Next Steps

The IRM researcher recommends the following:

  • The Tunisian government should prioritize this commitment and urge parliament to review the text and pass the law
  • Meanwhile, CSOs could start a public campaign about the importance of this commitment and advocate with the political parties and parliament to accelerate the passage of the law

IRM End of Term Status Summary

9. Elaborating a legal framework for citizen’s petitions

Commitment Text:

To establish a new mechanism for collective petitions in order to regulate and organize citizen participation in the process of making public decisions. This commitment represents an essential mechanism that will enhance citizen participation in the design, implementation and evaluation of public policies.

Milestones:

  • Preparing a legal framework to regulate collective petitions.

Responsible institution: Presidency of the Government

Start date: June 2016 End date: July 2018

Editorial Note: This is an abbreviated version of the commitment text. For the full commitment text from the Tunisia National Action Plan, see here.

Commitment Aim:

The commitment aimed to create the legal basis for citizens to address government and parliament with petitions. In the past, no laws existed to provide this opportunity to citizens.

Status

Midterm: Limited

The completion of this commitment was limited by the midterm. The Presidency of the Government developed the note about drafting the law on petitions. [46] During the process of drafting the bill, the government did not consult with the CSOs. The government submitted the draft of the bill to the bureau in the parliament that reviews the bills and determines if the bill should be tabled for the discussion and vote in the parliament. However, the bureau did not find this bill a priority.

End of term: Limited

By the end of term, the completion of this commitment remained limited. The government officials stated to the IRM researcher that they did not receive any feedback from the parliament despite multiple attempts.

Did It Open Government?

Civic Participation: Did Not Change

This commitment did not affect civic participation since it did not reach a substantial level of completion that would yield changes in government practice.

Carried Forward?

This commitment was not carried forward.


Commitments

Open Government Partnership