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Tunisia: civil society group calls on president to cancel July referendum 

Tunisia's President Kais Saied in Tunis, Tunisia on 15 December 2021 [FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images]

A civil society group in Tunisia has called on President Kais Saied to cancel the referendum scheduled for July because the committee to prepare the bills for political reforms has not been put together yet, Anadolu has reported.

A statement issued by I Watch on Tuesday pointed out that, "There are precedents of the Presidency of the Republic forming committees that do not achieve their goals."

The group called for a boycott of the referendum if Saied does not cancel it. "All sections of civil society should take clear and decisive positions in calling for a boycott and to thwart every plan which aims to affect the will of the people and circumvent the democratic path and the freedoms that Tunisians have gained through blood and pain."

READ: Tunisia, opposition creates National Salvation Front 'to save' country

I Watch expressed its concern that a committee put together at very short notice will not be able to do its job properly. "There are only 90 days left before the scheduled date of the referendum. Its role will thus only be to present the president's personal project to the public as the product of a specialised committee."

Saied launched an online national consultation process in January intended to enhance public participation in the democratic transition process. This is supposed to be followed by the referendum in July — a year after Saied imposed his "exceptional measures" on Tunisia, including the freezing of parliament — to determine the nature of the political system, parliamentary or presidential, with an election set for the end of the year.

Tunisia's president Kais Saied is bleeding the country - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Tunisia's president Kais Saied is bleeding the country – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

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