The amendments being made to the constitution, which are being put to a referendum on 25 July, show a “disregard for the laws”, five Tunisian parties said yesterday.
A joint statement issued by the Republican Party, the Democratic Current, the Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties, the Labor Party and the Democratic Modernist Pole, affirmed that “the issuance of a presidential order (..) relating to revising and correcting the copy of the draft constitution of Kais Saied and publishing it the Official Gazette is considered a disregard of the laws and a violation even of the decrees issued by the individual ruler [President Saied], in the context of his coup against constitutional legitimacy.”
The statement pointed out that “these amendments were like make-up through which the individual ruler tried to beautify a constitution that consolidates individual rule, and paves the way for the return of the authoritarian regime, in a total contradiction with the principles and pillars of the democratic civil state.”
Authorities did not comment regarding these accusations; however, they usually deny such claims and affirm their commitment to democracy in the country.
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”.