Tunisian President Kais Saied on Wednesday issued a decree to call voters to a referendum on a new constitution on July 25, according to the official gazette, reported France 24. The president’s call for a vote comes despite the opposition’s calls to reverse the controversial move.
According to the gazette, the only question in the referendum will be, “Do you agree the new constitution?”
The gazette added that polling will begin at 6 a.m. and end at 10 p.m. on July 25.
Last week, the Tunisian President named law professor Sadok Belaid to head an advisory committee that has been tasked with drafting a new constitution for a “new republic.” The committee includes law and political science deans and excludes all political parties from participating in the restructuring of the political system.
The main political parties have said they will boycott the unilateral restructuring of politics. The powerful UGTT union has also refused to participate in a limited dialog proposed by the president as he rewrites the constitution. The union said it would launch a national strike at state companies and public services.
Earlier on Wednesday, the advisory committee head Belaid said that he would move ahead with whoever participates in the panel after prominent academics refused to join it, raising fears the restructuring of the political system would not have a broad consensus.
Last year, President Saied took executive power and dissolved the Tunisian parliament to rule by decree. He has since said that he seeks to replace the democratic 2014 constitution with a new constitution via a July 25 referendum and hold new parliamentary elections in December.
The president’s opponents accuse him of a coup that has undermined the democratic gains of the 2011 revolution that triggered the Arab spring. But Saied claims that his moves were legal and were crucial to save Tunisia from a prolonged political crisis.