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Ennahda: We reject the proposed constitution and call for a boycott of its referendum

July 8, 2022 at 4:32 pm

Tunisian President Kais Saied in Tunis. [FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images]

The Tunisian Ennahda Movement announced, on Thursday, its rejection of the constitution document proposed by President Kais Saied, and called for a boycott of the referendum, which will take place at the end of July.

This came during a press conference by the Movement’s spokesman, Imad Khamiri, in the capital, Tunis, while the Tunisian authorities did not issue an immediate comment about that until 12:00 GMT.

Khamiri said that the Movement rejects the draft constitution because it “violates the civil feature of the state, violates the law, builds for an individual rule and paves the way for absolute power.”

He added: “Ennahda calls for a boycott of the referendum on the constitution and considers it illegitimate, illegal and issued by a coup.”

On Tuesday, Saied called on Tunisians to vote “yes” on the draft constitution, which is scheduled to be put to a popular referendum on 25 July.

Saied stressed that in this constitution, “there is no fear about rights and freedoms”.

In another context, Khamiri considered that “the coup authority seeks to defame the Movement through systematic media campaigns against it because it is at the centre of confronting the coup.”

READ: Tunisia’s powerful labour union allows members to vote on new constitution

He regarded that “all of this falls within an attempt to legitimise and constitutionalise this coup”, as he put it.

He continued: “Targeting the Movement’s leader, Rached Ghannouchi, aims to distract people’s attention from the economic and social problems that Tunisia is experiencing.”

Rached Ghannouchi, Tunisian parliament speaker and the head of the Ennahda Movement in Tunis, Tunisia on 12 January 2021 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Rached Ghannouchi, the head of the Ennahda Movement in Tunis, Tunisia on 12 January 2021 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

On Tuesday, the Financial Analysis Committee of the Central Bank of Tunisia announced the freezing of bank accounts and financial balances of Ghannouchi (the Speaker of the dissolved Parliament) and nine other people.

Ennahda Movement considered, on Wednesday, that freezing the balances of its president is “an insistence by the coup authority to put his name in judicial cases to defame and fabricate malicious charges.”

On the same day, the Tunisian judiciary referred Ghannouchi to the investigation, as a defendant in the case of “Namaa Tunisia Association” charity, which the Ministry of Interior charged with money laundering.

The referendum on the draft constitution comes within the course of exceptional measures that Saied imposed on 25 July, 2021, which included dismissing the government and appointing a new one, dissolving the Parliament and the Supreme Judicial Council, issuing legislation by presidential decrees, and setting an early date for the parliamentary elections on 17 December.

Tunisian forces consider these measures as a “coup against the constitution”, while other forces see them as a “correction of the course of the 2011 revolution” that toppled former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (1987-2011).

While Saied, who in 2019 began a five-year presidential term, said that his measures are “measures according to the provisions of the Constitution to protect the State from an imminent danger,” stressing that “rights and freedoms shall not be violated.”