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US: Tunisia's new constitution weakens democracy

US Secretary State Antony Blinken on April 06, 2022 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]
US Secretary State Antony Blinken on 6 April 2022 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday expressed his country's concern that the new constitution in Tunisia could weaken democracy, considering that the country has recently witnessed an "alarming erosion" of democratic norms.

"We share the concerns expressed by many Tunisians that the process of drafting the new constitution limited the scope for genuine debate and also that the new constitution could weaken Tunisia's democracy and erode respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms," he said in a press statement issued yesterday.

Blinken considered that "an inclusive and transparent reform process is crucial going forward to begin to restore the confidence of the millions of Tunisians who either did not participate in the referendum or opposed the new constitution."

He urged the swift adoption of an inclusive electoral law that facilitates the broadest possible participation in legislative elections planned for December.

The US Secretary described the situation in the country during the last period by saying that Tunisia has experienced an "alarming erosion of democratic norms" over the past year and reversed many of the Tunisian people's hard-won gains since 2011.

READ: Tunisia opposition accuses Electoral Commission of electoral fraud

The suspension of the constitution, and consolidation of executive power since 25 July 2021, have raised deep questions about Tunisia's democratic path both in the country and internationally.

Blinken pledged that the United States will continue to use all possible tools to support the Tunisian people in forging a democratic and accountable government that preserves the space for free debate and dissent, safeguards human rights, respects judicial independence and separates powers for democracy.

Blinken concluded his statement by saying: "The US-Tunisia partnership is strongest when there is a shared commitment to democracy and human rights."

On Monday, Tunisians voted on a new draft constitution that grants broad powers to President Kais Saied and could return the country to a dictatorial regime similar to the one that existed before the 2011 revolution.

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