‘Yes’ vote wins Tunisia landslide, but critics question support

by | Jul 27, 2022 | World

The opposition says the low turnout for the constitutional referendum shows President Kais Saied’s weakness.Tunis, Tunisia – Results show that Tunisians have voted to approve a new constitution proposed by President Kais Saied, but the country’s opposition says the low turnout of only about 30 percent shows the president’s weakness and the illegitimacy of the process.
According to preliminary results announced by the Tunisian Independent Higher Election Authority (ISIE) on Tuesday evening, 94.6 percent of voters approved the constitution.
A monthlong appeal process will now be held before the final result is announced at the August end.
The low turnout came amid a boycott campaign from the Tunisian opposition, which says the new constitution will potentially lead Tunisia back to one-man rule, as it changes the country from a hybrid parliamentary system to a hyper-presidential one, and removes a number of checks and balances.
Farouk Bouasker, the head of the ISIE, steered away from discussing voter turnout after many members of the opposition emphasised that the majority of Tunisians not only did not vote for Saied, but they also did not engage in his referendum process.
ISIE President Farouk Bouasker announces the preliminary results of the referendum on a new constitution in Tunis, Tunisia, July 26, 2022 [Tarek Amara/Reuters]
Saied, who said on Monday that people were free to skip the referendum, insisted the new document will keep the freedoms enshrined in the 2014 iteration of the constitution, adding his changes are necessary to weaken a “corrupt” political elite.
The populist, who came into power in 2019, retains a strong support base from Tunisians tired of the economic and political crises that have dominated the country since the 2011 revolution, but has lost support since he suspended parliament a …

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