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Tunisian rights group calls to withdraw draft constitution, launch real national dialogue

TUNIS, TUNISIA - DECEMBER 10: Tunisians stage a demonstration to protest the human rights violations during the times of former Tunisian Presidents Habib Bourguiba and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and demand justice for the victims during Human Rights Day in Tunis, Tunisia on December 10, 2020. ( Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency )
Tunisians stage a demonstration to protest the human rights violations during the times of former Tunisian Presidents Habib Bourguiba and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and demand justice for the victims during Human Rights Day in Tunis, Tunisia on December 10, 2020 [Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency]

The Tunisian Human Rights League yesterday called on President Kais Saied to withdraw the new draft constitution and to launch a "real national dialogue capable of getting the country out of the current situation", Anadolu news agency reported.

The body considered the proposed draft constitution incompatible with its charter and national and international references as well as with the continuous struggle for a civil state that guarantees a complete separation of powers, complete equality for citizens and the upholding of rights.

It added that the draft includes linguistic errors and errors in referencing chapters of the constitution that affect the essence of the legal text which paves the way for more deviations.

The League said its assessment is in line with all components of civil society and even members of the committee who drafted the original version, and who described the text contained in the Official Gazette as "establishing an authoritarian state".

READ: Tunisia campaign calls for boycott of referendum on the constitution

On Tuesday, Saied called on Tunisians to vote in favour of the draft constitution, which is scheduled to be put to a popular referendum on 25 July.

"There is no fear for rights and freedoms if the legal texts place them under popular control, whether within the Parliament or the Council of Regions," he said.

Prominent Tunisian parties and associations are calling for a boycott of the referendum, while small parties support it. Meanwhile, the powerful Tunisian General Labour Union; the largest trade union in the country, said it was allowing its members to decide.

The new draft constitution includes 142 articles granting broad powers to the president, in contrast to the 2014 constitution, which provided for a quasi-parliamentary system.

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