Tunisians vote in referendum on new constitution

Tunis, July 25 (EFE).- A vote to ratify a new constitution that would give President Kais Saied sweeping powers got underway in Tunisia on Monday morning.

The polling stations opened at 6 a.m. across the North African country.

More than 9.2 million Tunisians are eligible to vote at over 11,000 booths that will close at 10 p.m.

Tunisians must vote “yes” or “no” on a constitutional draft that, if accepted, will replace the present Magna Carta of 2014 drafted by a constituent assembly.

A yes-vote victory could solidify Saied’s power.

The contentious constitutional project has drawn fire for introducing authoritarianism and a hyper-presidential system with few checks on Saied’s power.

The proposed change would revert Tunisia to a presidential system, similar to what it had before the 2011 uprising, from the post-revolutionary constitution’s hybrid parliamentary-presidential structure.

Approximately 84,000 officials supervise the polling locations, while thousands of national and foreign observers are to check the legitimacy of the process.

The poll takes place amid a state of emergency and a dissolved parliament.

Saied revoked much of the 2014 constitution in September 2021 after suspending parliament on July 25 last year to give himself greater power.

According to Human Rights Watch, the new constitution established a clear trend that began when Saied extended his authority on July 25, last year.

“Saied has undermined Tunisia’s democratic institutions, as provided for in the 2014 constitution,” the rights group said.

“President Saied’s draft constitution drastically scales back the power of parliament under the 2014 constitution.” EFE


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