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Tunisia: 24 parties will take part in constitutional referendum campaign

Tunisian flag raised up at Belvedere Park in Tunis on 20 March, 2017 [Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian flag raised up at Belvedere Park in Tunis on 20 March, 2017 [Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisia's Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) announced that 24 political parties will participate in the campaign for the constitutional referendum, scheduled to be held on 25 July.

President Kais Saied appointed the professor of law Sadok Belaid as coordinating head of the National Consultative Authority entrusted with drafting a new constitution for the country in May.

The ISIE said in a statement yesterday that "24 parties applied to participate in the referendum campaign, including the People's Movement, Afek Tounes and the Tunisia Forward Movement."

The ISIE stated that the campaign will witness the participation of "26 associations, most notably the Tunisian General Labour Union UGTT (the largest trade union in Tunisia), in addition to 111 people."

The ISIE did not give any more details about the campaign, however, it previously announced that it will be held between 3-21 July.

READ: Tunisia – Saied poised for more power but economy crumbles

A number of parties, including the Ennahda movement, have announced that they will boycott the referendum.

Saied has held nearly total power since 25 July 2021 when he sacked the prime minister, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority citing a national emergency.

He appointed a prime minister on 29 September of the same year and a government has since been formed. In December, Saied announced that a referendum will be held on 25 July to consider 'constitutional reforms' and elections would follow in December 2022.

The majority of the country's political parties slammed the move as a "coup against the constitution" and the achievements of the 2011

revolution. Critics say Saied's decisions have strengthened the powers of the presidency at the expense of parliament and the government, and that he aims to transform the country's government into a presidential system.

On more than one occasion, Saied, who began a five-year presidential term in 2019, said that his exceptional decisions are not a coup, but rather measures within the framework of the constitution to protect the state from "imminent danger".

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