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Tunisia: National Salvation Front describes new constitution as 'authority of one person'

TUNIS, TUNISIA - JULY 26: Farouk Bouasker, president of the Independent High Authority for Elections, holds a press conference to announce the unofficial results of the 25 July referendum on the new constitution in Tunis, Tunisia on July 26, 2022. ( Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency )
Farouk Bouasker, president of the Independent High Authority for Elections, holds a press conference to announce the unofficial results of the 25 July referendum on the new constitution in Tunis, Tunisia on July 26, 2022 [Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency]

The head of Tunisia's National Salvation Front has described the country's new constitution as a "constitution of one person." Ahmed Najib Chebbi told Anadolu that, "The resistance to the course of President Kais Saied's measures will continue until the return of constitutional legitimacy."

Chebbi was responding to the announcement by the head of the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) on Tuesday that the draft constitution has been approved by the 25 July referendum. The new constitution is thus effective in the country.

"The choice of the Tunisian people was to elect 217 deputies, 200 of whom voted in favour of the 2014 constitution," said Chebbi. "We are outside this path with the new constitution. We rejected and boycotted it, and we will continue to resist it until the return of the constitutional legitimacy of the 2014 constitution, and we will renew this legitimacy through early elections supervised by a truly independent elections authority."

Opposition groups in Tunisia contend that the very low turnout for last month's referendum — less than 30 per cent of eligible voters — means that the result lacks any significant degree of credibility.

READ: Controversial Tunisian Constitution comes into effect amid criticism

"The majority of the Tunisian people did not participate in the referendum," added the National Salvation Front leader. "The result does not bind society, it reflects the will of an individual because the president alone drafted the text of the constitution. Even the commission he formed to draft it challenged the final text."

This was a reference to the resignation of the head of the Constitution Drafting Commission, Sadok Belaid, and his renunciation of the final draft voted on in the referendum.

Tunisia has experienced a severe political crisis since July last year, when Saied imposed exceptional measures including the dismissal of the government, the dissolution of the Supreme Judicial Council and parliament, the issue of legislation by presidential decree and the adoption of a new constitution. A parliamentary election is supposed to be held on 17 December.

Anadolu was unable to get a comment from the Tunisian authorities on Ahmed Najib Chebbi's criticism of the new constitution.

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