Tunisians vote on a new Constitution to grant more power Kais Saied


Tunisians vote a new Constitution to grant more power Kais Saied

Tunisians vote this Monday a A referendum was held, for the first time in its history, to approve or reject a new Constitution which, if consolidated, would give more powers to the president Kais Saied, who a year ago dissolved the Parliament, established the curfew and attributed full powers.

The polling stations opened their doors at 5:00 a.m. so that the 9.2 million registered voterscan exercise their electoral right until nine o'clock at night. In this referendum, whichdoes not require a minimum number of voters, the “yes” The new Constitution is favored because the majority of the opposition has urged its ranks not to participate.

Tunisians vote for a new Constitution to grant more power to Kais Saied

The project of a new Constitution ;n establishes an ultra-presidential regimein rupture with the more parliamentary system established in 2014 after the triumph of the carnation revolution, to which Saied attributes the crisis Tunisia is currently experiencing. The country of 12 million inhabitants has been in a deep political crisis for a year, after Saied, elected by a large majority in 2019, claimed full powers on July 25, 2021. “A coup d'état”, according to the opposition, and an “excessive concentration of power” for organizations that defend human rights.

The opposition, especially the party of inspiration An Islamist Ennahdha, has called for a boycott of the referendum, considering it an “illegal process”. The main union, UGTT, has not given a voting slogan. “The big unknown is whether participation will be low or very low,since a lot of people don't know or what. nor why vote”, the researcher Youssef Cherif explained to AFP.

The “yes” supporters will vote “because they like the president or because they hate those who governed since (the Revolution of) 2011” Ennahdha and his allies, “but they are no more than a few hundred thousand,” according to Cherif.

Risk of dictatorship

The u latest version of the text, written by Saied in person, is “light years away from the secular and democratic project” proposed by the commission in charge of preparing it, he explained >Hamadi Redissi, political scientist. According to him, “unlike the 2014 Constitution, here there is no debate or public deliberation of the project.”

Sadok Belaid, the jurist in charge of the commission in charge of drawing up the new Constitution, took over. distances with the final text, since in his opinion it is likely “to open the way to a dictatorial regime.”

The establishment of An ultra-presidential regime would break with the parliamentary system created after the fall of the dictator Ben Ali. in 2011, and what was he doing with Tunisia the only democracy to come out of the Arab Spring revolts, according to analysts.

Tunisia may evolve towards a “competitive authoritarianism ” like Turkey or Russia, “with elections” but “without true democracy”, although “it will never be like China or Egypt”, Redissi considered. A present but not immediate risk, according to some analysts. “The legal framework is there. If you look at the dismantling of the institutions that guarantee freedoms and democracy, the siege tightens,” explained Isabelle Werenfels, a researcher at the German SWP institute .

After the referendum, the main problem of the country will be the economy in crisis, with a runaway unemployment rate (40% among young people), inflationgrowing by the war in Ukraine and the 4 million poor people in the country.


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