Creating new perspectives since 2009

Tunisian organisations consider July 25 as referendum date on President Said, not on constitution

July 20, 2022 at 2:32 pm

Tunisian President Kais Saied in Tunis, Tunisia on 21 July 2022 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

About thirty human rights organisations in Tunisia said in a joint statement today, on Monday, that the referendum scheduled to be implemented on 25 July is a referendum on President Kais Saied and not on the new draft constitution, in a new criticism of a course, they said, poses a threat to Tunisia’s emerging democracy in Tunisia.

While the Independent High Authority for Elections, ISIE, began its logistical preparations for the referendum in its branches throughout the country and at the designated polling centres, human rights organisations called on the President to stop this referendum and announced that they would not engage in a “bombed” path.

Kais Saied, Tunisia president dissolves parliament 'to preserve the state' - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Kais Saied, Tunisia president dissolves parliament ‘to preserve the state’ – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

The statement of the organisations, including the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists and the Tunisian Human Rights League, stated that “it is a referendum whose results are known in advance and has no legitimacy”, noting that it lacks guarantees to hold the ISIE accountable; also it lacks “accountability mechanisms such as appeal, rejection and monitoring. In addition, it witnesses an apparent restriction on media.”

The organisations criticised President Saied’s complete control in setting the country’s political agenda during the period of exceptional measures that he imposed about a year ago, his adoption of what they called the “empowerment” policy and the granting of broad powers to himself in the new draft constitution, with a base system that is not acceptable by opposition parties and national organisations.

The organisations said that the President “turned to surpass participatory and actual dialogue and replaced it with a formal consultative dialogue that he neglected its results and adopted his own constitutional text”.

During his speeches, President Saied repeats his desire to “correct the course” of the revolution, confront the corruption and chaos that have prevailed in state institutions in the last decade and establish a new republic.

The Tunisian President defended the draft constitution and said no return would be to dictatorship.

READ: ‘Targeting Ghannouchi’s freedom is targeting the movement’