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Tunisia: president announces referendum on new constitution

May 26, 2022 at 11:05 am

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied [JOHANNA GERON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

The Official Gazette in Tunisia has published details of the decree by President Kais Saied for a referendum on a new constitution to be held on 25 July. Saied is apparently ignoring the opposition’s call to back down from the controversial move.

Saied appointed law professor Sadok Belaid last week to head an advisory committee made up of legal and political science deans to draft a new constitution for a “new republic”. However, academics have since refused to join the committee, citing the neutrality of their institutions.

Belaid said on Wednesday that he would move forward with writing the new constitution with “whomever is present”. Concerns have now been raised that the new constitution will not gain a broad consensus.

Tunisia: academics refuse to join presidential committee to draft constitution

According to the Official Gazette, the only question on the referendum paper will be: Do you agree to the new constitution? It noted that polling will begin at 6 am on 25 July and close at 10 pm.

Political parties have been excluded from the restructuring of the political system. The parties have said that they will boycott unilateral political changes and escalate their protests against them.

The influential Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) has refused to participate in a limited dialogue that is a formality proposed by the president as he rewrites the constitution. The union said that it will organise a national strike in protest against the poor economic situation in Tunisia and frozen salaries.