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Tunisia rights group sues president for violating electoral law

TUNIS, TUNISIA - JUNE 21: Tunisian President Kais Saied speaks to press as he arrives Tunis-Carthage International Airport to bid farewell to the prospective Hajj pilgrims before their departure to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj pilgrimage in Tunis, Tunisia on July 21, 2022. ( Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency )
Tunisian President Kais Saied in Tunis, Tunisia on July 21, 2022 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisia's I Watch organisation announced that it had filed a lawsuit against President Kais Saied and the President of the Independent High Authority for Elections, Farouk Bouaskar, on charges of violating the electoral law and committing administrative corruption.

The organisation said in a statement that Saied's participation in the referendum campaign without submitting a request to do so is a violation that requires legal accountability.

Is Tunisia's president Kais Saied like Louis XIV, King of France? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Is Tunisia's president Kais Saied like Louis XIV, King of France? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

The complaint comes against the background of the so-called "explanatory memorandum" published by the Presidency of the Republic on its Facebook page on 5 July and the Independent High Authority for Elections on its official website a day earlier.

In a message published by the Tunisian presidency, Saied called on Tunisian citizens to vote "yes" in favour of the draft constitution that will be put to a referendum on 25 July.

Saied urged Tunisians to vote to "realise the people's demands and save the state".

"Say yes, so that the state does not fall into old age… The new constitution does not prejudice rights and freedoms," Saied said.

I Watch explained that by posting his message, Saied has violated the provisions of Law No. 2014-16 dated 26 May 2014 related to elections, referendum and administrative corruption.

The organisation also considered that Saied has violated the provisions of Article 115 of Decree No. 34 of 2022, since he published his "explanatory memorandum" during the period of the referendum campaign, that is, after the deadlines set by the decree.

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

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