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Tunisia's powerful labour union allows members to vote on new constitution

July 3, 2022 at 11:16 am

Secretary-General of Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), Noureddine Taboubi speaks at the ceremony in Tunis, Tunisia. [Yassine Gaidi – Anadolu Agency]

Tunisia’s powerful labour union has allowed its members to vote in a planned referendum this month on the country’s new constitution, Anadolu Agency reported.

“Members have the freedom to vote in the (constitutional) referendum,” Noureddine Taboubi, secretary-general of the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), said following a meeting in the capital Tunis late Saturday.

Taboubi said the new charter has positive articles related to rights and freedoms.

“The charter, however, includes articles that consolidate power in the president’s hands in addition to the absence of any mention of the civil state,” he added.

READ: Former Tunisia President Marzouki calls to boycott Saied’s Constitution

Tunisians are scheduled to vote on July 25 in a public referendum on an amended version of the constitution.

Under the new constitution, the government will answer to the president not to the parliament.

The draft constitution also gives power to the president to dissolve the parliament who could serve for two terms of five years. The 142-article draft also says that Tunisia is a republic with a presidential system.

Tunisia has been in the throes of a deep political crisis that aggravated the country’s economic conditions since President Kais Saied ousted the government, suspended parliament and assumed executive authority in July 2021.

While Saied insisted that his measures were meant to “save” the country, critics have accused him of orchestrating a coup.