Tunisian Constitutional Referendum Sees Low Turnout

Tunisian voters turned out in low numbers on July 25 for a referendum on a controversial constitution that would give President Kais Saied nearly total powers.

According to the country’s electoral commission, only 27.5% of the nine million Tunisians eligible to vote cast their ballots amid a boycott by all of the country’s major political parties.

The poll by Sigma Conseil said that 92.3% of voters in the referendum supported the new constitution.

With no minimum participation rate set for a “yes” vote to pass and no provisions made for a “no” result, the constitution is now set to become law.

Board Chief Farouk Bouaskar said that a “very respectable number” of voters had a “meeting with history.”

Opposition parties boycotted the referendum, arguing that it undermines the democracy Tunisia introduced after the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that removed longtime ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power.

However, Saied argued that the new constitution was necessary to advance political reforms.

The new constitution would unilaterally dissolve parliament and give Saied the power to appoint the prime minister, other cabinet ministers, and judges. It would also give him supreme command of the army. 

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