Tunisian voters have approved a new constitution by referendum vote, one that further consolidates power for President Kaïs Saïed despite concerns from the political opposition over the future of the country’s democracy.
The Tunisian government said that 94.6% of voters approved the measure, with turnout low in part because of calls to boycott over Saïed’s ever-increasing authoritarianism and the legitimacy of the process.
Paris-based news outlet LeMonde said the president made a public appearance at about 1 a.m. to celebrate the victory. He declared that Tunisia has entered a new phase that would bring hope to the troubled North African nation.
Saïed was elected as a reformer in 2019, after campaigning on commitments to protect Tunisia’s evolving democracy. He vowed that Tunisia would be governed by the rule of law, but has shut down the political opposition and, earlier this year, dissolved the country’s parliament and ended the independent judiciary.
When the draft constitution was released last month, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) said the new constitution “threatens to jeopardize the foundations of a state governed by the rule of law and the hard-won freedoms strengthened by the revolutionary process.”
Among other things, FIDH called the protections of rights and freedoms weak, and the space for civil society limiting, issues that have raised concern within the international community.
Image: Tunisian Presidency file photo