Tunisia’s Electoral Commission Says New Constitution Passed In Voting
Tunisia’s electoral commission on Tuesday announced the new constitution has passed in a referendum with a 30.5% turnout, reported The Reuters. The constitution reportedly tightens President Kais Saied’s grip as it gives him far more power.
According to the commission, 95% of voters approved the constitution in Monday’s referendum.
On Tuesday evening, electoral commission head Farouk Bouasker told journalists the electoral body “announces the acceptance of the new draft constitution for the Republic of Tunisia,” based on preliminary results, with 94.6 percent of valid ballots voting a yes on 30.5 percent turnout.
Tunisia’s opposition groups and critics, who boycotted the voting, accuse Mr Saied of staging a coup against the democracy that emerged from Tunisia’s Arab Spring uprising of 2011. They have accused the authorities of inflating the vote numbers and said they still recognised the 2014 constitution as the legitimate one.
Mr. Saied has denied accusations that he is a new dictator, and says freedoms won in 2011 are protected.
“Tunisia has entered a new phase,” Saied told his supporters after polling closed. “What the Tunisian people did… is a lesson to the world, and a lesson to history on a scale that the lessons of history are measured on.”
Tunisia’s new constitution, which replaces one drafted in 2014, would give the head of state full executive control, supreme command of the army and the ability to appoint a government without parliamentary approval.
The vote on the new constitution came a year after President Kais Saied’s dramatic power grab against parliament. Last July, he ousted Tunisia’s parliament and moved to rule by decree, saying that his actions were necessary to save the country from years of paralysis. He rewrote the constitution last month.
Tunisia, meanwhile, faces a looming economic crisis and is seeking an International Monetary Fund (IMF) rescue package to address all the issues.