Opponents of Tunisia’s new referendum unable to unite before vote

by | Jul 22, 2022 | World

Tunis, Tunisia – Opponents of Tunisia’s President Kais Saied are divided on the best line of action to take on Monday’s referendum on his new constitution.Some say they should take advantage of the general lack of support for the document and vote “no”, while others are of the opinion that the referendum should be boycotted, so as not to legitimise the process.
The movement has struggled to have a united voice; ideological divisions mean that the main anti-Saied grouping, Citizens Against the Coup, has faced difficulty attracting support from some on the liberal left because it includes members of the Ennahdha Party amongst its ranks, as well as other political parties.
Only days away from the vote, opponents of the new constitution are planning on holding separate demonstrations, rather than coalescing around one mass movement.
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“I cannot demonstrate alongside Citizens Against the Coup because they’re allied with Ennahdha, and I cannot be with [right-wing politician] Abir Moussi,” said Ahlem Bousserwel, the general secretary of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women, who will hold a demonstration with other feminist and human rights groups on Friday.
Many of the people on this side of the debate had previously supported Saied, and welcomed his decision last July to suspend parliament, where Ennahdha was the biggest party and dissolve the government.
Wajdi Mahouechi was serving a prison sentence at the time for his political activism and vlogging.
“When I heard this [that Saied was suspending parliament] I shouted for joy, I was so happy,” Mahouechi said.
However, after winning an appeal for early release, Mahouechi said that he did not find the changes he wanted, and started campaigning online with comedy sketches satirising what he called Saied’s strange behaviours.
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His most popular video is called The …

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