Tunisia: the new Constitution proposed by President Kais Saied was adopted by referendum

The new Constitution proposed by Tunisian President Kais Saied, which significantly strengthens the powers of the Head of State, was adopted by 94.6% of the vote, according to final results unveiled by the electoral authority on Tuesday August 16th. The text will enter into force after its promulgation by the president and its publication in the official journal.

The new Constitution establishes a hyper-presidential regime, breaking with the limitations imposed on the power of the Head of State since 2014 to avoid the return of a dictatorship similar to that of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, overthrown in 2011 during the Jasmine Revolution. With this text, the president can appoint and dismiss the head of government and ministers as he pleases, and he cannot be dismissed. A second chamber will also be created within the Parliament to represent the Tunisian regions.

However, the turnout was only 30.5%. The opposition parties, which had called for a boycott of the July 25 election, denounce the increasingly authoritarian exercise of power by Kais Saied. President [élu en] notably suspended Parliament since July 2021, and replaced the Superior Council of the Judiciary with a body “temporary” while giving itself the power to dismiss judges. Human rights defenders have warned of a danger of a return to dictatorship.

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