Tensions between central and local authorities emerged with publication of the Presidency’s Circular 9 of March 25, 2002 regarding « mandatory coordination with the supervisory authority prior to the adoption of measures and procedures combatting the spread of the Coronavirus ». Indeed, the initiative suscitated criticism from legal experts and certain local governance actors.

The circular in question calls upon ministers, secretaries of state, governors, mayors and public institution officials « to not take measures outside of the framework of decisions announced by the government » and highlights « the necessity to refer to the supervisory authority beforehand » if additional preventative measures are taken. But public law professor Afef Marrakchi says that this procedure, which accords a certain preeminence to central government, is neither compliant with the Constitution nor with Organic Law 29 of 2018 concerning the Code of Local Collectivities.