Tunisia Passes New Constitution Granting President Saied More Powers

Tunisia Passes New Constitution Granting The President More Powers (News Central TV)

The final results of a controversial constitution granting unchecked powers to the office of Tunisia‘s President Kais Saied showed 94.6 percent of votes in favour, the electoral authority said Tuesday.

The electoral board officially declared the results of the election held on July 25 and stated that voters had overwhelmingly accepted the new constitution.

According to the board’s president Farouk Bouasker, just over 2.6 million people voted in favor of the charter.

Farouk Bouasker

At 30.5 percent, participation was regarded as extremely poor. The referendum was held exactly one year to the day after Saied ousted the administration and shuttered the legislature in what his opponents dubbed a coup.

Despite the poor participation, many Tunisians supported Saied’s action against a system that developed following the toppling of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

Political unrest, high unemployment, high inflation, and a system they believed had not significantly improved their lives were all things that many people were tired of.

A return to dictatorship under the new constitution, however, has been foreshadowed by opposition leaders and human rights organisations.

“The constitution comes into force with the announcement of the final results, its promulgation by the president and its publication in the official journal,” Bouasker said on Tuesday.

The electoral body of the North African nation, ISIE, was considered to have demonstrated honesty and transparency by rejecting appeals against the referendum process.

ISIE had been the target of “an extraordinary avalanche of allegations by some political parties and civil society organisations,” according to Bouasker.

The new legislation makes it nearly impossible to remove the president from office, gives him control over the army, and permits him to form governments without parliamentary approval.

He can also submit proposed laws to the legislature, which is required to give them top priority.

Within parliament, a second chamber is established to represent the regions and serve as a check on the assembly.

With a growth rate of just 3%, a youth unemployment rate of almost 40%, and four million people living in poverty out of a total population of around 12 million, Tunisia is entrenched in catastrophe.

The massively indebted government has been negotiating a fresh loan with the International Monetary Fund for weeks in an effort to secure $4 billion and the opportunity to open up other foreign aid channels, primarily European.


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